If you have ever walked down the beach on the coast of Florida, almost every beach has some amount of brown seaweed on it. At times, there is such an abundance of sargassum that getting some on you when you enter the water is almost inevitable. While this may get annoying to us humans, sargassum play a vital role in the lives of many marine organisms.
All of this seaweed comes from The Sargasso Sea which is located in the Atlantic Ocean and is the only sea without a land boundary. Sea turtles are just one of many species that depend on this sea to thrive in their early stages of life. Mats of free floating sargassum provide habitat and shelter for many marine species including baby sea turtles. Loggerhead sea turtles typically spend their first year drifting in the sargassum, where they feed on bite-sized floating prey as well as have a source of protection from larger predators.
So next time you see seaweed at the beach - be thankful! That means baby hatchlings will have a safe place to go once they hatch!