Life in the North Atlantic depends on this floating seaweed – Repeating Islands

Life in the North Atlantic depends on this floating seaweed – Repeating Islands

Its tangled tresses support an astonishing diversity of organisms that hide in and feed off the weed—the larvae and juveniles, according to one study, of 122 different species of fish, as well as hatchling sea turtles, nudibranchs, seahorses, crabs, shrimps, and snails. The seaweed in turn is nourished by the excrement of these organisms.

Larger creatures such as fish and turtles find plenty to eat amid the sargassum, and they attract bigger predators—triggerfish, tripletails, filefish, mahi-mahis, and jacks, on up the chain of life to sharks, tuna, wahoos, and billfish. Tropic birds, shearwaters, petrels, terns, boobies, and other birds of the open ocean roost and forage on sargassum mats. [. . .]

The Sargasso Sea has long been associated with mystery. Eighteenth-century sailors referred to this part of the Atlantic as the horse latitudes because, the story goes, ships would get becalmed there and have to dump their horses overboard as freshwater supplies dwindled. And the Sargasso overlaps with the mythic region known as the Bermuda Triangle, where ships and planes are said to have disappeared without a trace. Whether or not you buy into the legends, when you’re out on the Sargasso Sea, you can’t help but be touched by moments of the sublime. [. . .]

For full article, see https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2019/06/sargasso-sea-north-atlantic-gyre-supports-ocean-life

via Life in the North Atlantic depends on this floating seaweed – Repeating Islands