Seaweed, or sea vegetables, is an umbrella term to describe macroalgae. There are thousands of species of algae, all of which are macroscopic, multicellular, and live in the marine environment. Seaweeds grow at different climates, latitudes, and also different depths in the ocean.

Seaweeds are found around the world and there are thousands of species that differ vastly from each other, just as land plants do. Think of greens like lettuce and kale which have many different species in each subgroup. Seaweed falls into three main classes (colours) brown, red, and green. Then divide into many subgroups from there.

Seaweed (microalgae) Types:

Kelp, brown algae

Brown Algae

Brown seaweed is among the largest algae. They are typically distributed in the colder ocean zones and include kelps and rockweeds. Certain species of kelp in the Pacific and Antarctic regions exceed 100 feet (33m) in length. Brown algae are an important source of alginates (colloidal extracts that are gelatin-like) which are used for their stabilizing abilities. Alginates are used in wound healing and drug delivery products, as well as food like ice creams, salad dressings, fruit juices, and yogurt. There are approximately 1500 species of brown seaweed.

Learn more about the most popular brown seaweeds.

Red algae, Get Kelp

Red Algae

Red seaweed is often found attached to other shore plants. Their colour is the result of the masking of chlorophyll by phycobilin pigments, and they can sometimes appear blue in appearance. Their shape range includes filamentous, branched, feathered, and sheetlike. Red algae are an important source of agar used in canning meat, fish, and poultry. As well as many other products like cosmetics, medicines, and dentistry. There are approximately 6600 species of red algae.

See this infographics for the most popular red seaweeds.

Green Seaweed, Sea lettuce

Green Algae

Green seaweed gains its colour from chlorophyll and can be found around the world. Green seaweed grows in both fresh and saltwater, preferring nutrient-rich waters with high concentrations of phosphates and nitrates. They tend to grow close to shore, in shallower waters, and are most closely related to land plants. However, they do not flower, nor have roots or leaves. The most popular green seaweed is sea lettuce (Ulva). Green Seaweed is an important source of Chlorella and Spirulina, powerful sources of vitamins A, B & C, for supplements. There are about 2000 species of green seaweed.

Learn about the most popular green seaweeds.

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