Seaweed's Silver Lining, Exploring the Benefits of Seaweed in Galveston

Seaweed is a natural occurrence that usually washes up in Galveston starting in May and throughout the summer. This happens across the entire Gulf Coast and is a natural part of being by the sea.

Sargassum is a type of algae that floats freely on the ocean's surface and provides food, protection, and habitat for many marine species.

What is Sargassum?

Sargassum (noun): a brown seaweed with berrylike air bladders, typically forming large floating masses.

Sargassum is a natural part of the environment. Much of it forms in the Sargasso Sea, an area of relatively calm seas just north of the eastern Caribbean. Sargassum then drifts with the currents from east to west through the Caribbean, then into the Gulf of Mexico, through the Yucatán Channel.

Map of the Sargasso Sea

The most vulnerable areas in our basin generally include the Florida Keys/ South Florida and SE Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle. It is rare that a large sargassum landing would impact the upper Texas Coast, but it has happened before in 2014.

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The Benefits of Sargassum

Despite what some beachgoers may think about its appearance, seaweed isn’t all bad. In fact, seaweed has many environmental benefits. Sargassum serves as a floating ecosystem for marine life. Here, eels breed, turtle hatchlings find sanctuary and scores of other species thrive. Sargassum also serves as a protective barrier from beach erosion.

Sea Beans

Endless waves wash against our coastal beaches leaving behind brightly colored or unusual seashells to catch the collector’s eye, but those same waves also bring other gifts from the sea.

Among the many interesting objects left stranded on the sand are tropical seeds and fruits that drift here from such exotic places as the west coast of Africa, the Amazon Basin, South America, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

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(Information courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife)

Galveston Beaches

Join Artist Boat for Bucket Brigade Interpretive Beach Tours to explore the creatures and features that make Galveston beaches unique! There is more to the Sargassum and turbid water than many people think, and there is much more to be found on the beach than just sand.

Tours are educational and fun for ocean lovers of all ages. Hands-on activities investigate topics including Galveston’s turbid water, marine debris, Sargassum landings, and more! All ages welcome!

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Galveston Beaches

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a regular beachgoer, there are many ways that you can help curb littering and keep our beaches free of trash. Together, we can make a positive impact on the environment and help to keep Galveston beautiful.

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Galveston Beaches

We love our Galveston beaches and work hard to keep them clean, green and pristine for our residents, visitors, and wildlife. We also work to inspire and educate the community to take action through environmentally responsible behaviors. The Park Board’s Coastal Zone Management team provides day to day maintenance of Galveston's public beaches.

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