[Oman] Oman is a home to rich biodiversity even in its marine habitats. Beachgoers witnessed tangled mats of seaweeds (marine macroalgae) along the Sur coast since last month. Large amounts of seaweeds got washed out upon the beach, making the wrack line bit colourful. The algal bloom combined with the strong currents could have resulted in such a brown wash up along the shore. The wrack line consists of different types of seaweeds-red, green and brown, sea grass and even the debris of other plants.
Though many types of seaweeds were found, the brown seaweed Padina. Padina boergesenii was the dominating one and it made the wrack line bit darker. Of course it is one of the commonest seaweed found along the coastlines of Oman. There are many species of Padina and P. pavonica is popularly known as “Peacock’s tail’.
Each seaweed species has an individual life cycle comprising of its vegetative and reproductive phases displaying its growth and abundance. Some are annuals, occurring only for a season or few seasons, and some are perennials that can persist for several years. Excessive accumulation of marine macroalgae, referred to as seaweed bloom, may become a nuisance during periods of warm weather. When these seaweed decay they release hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. This would attract insects and their larvae. It may hinder the beach access for recreational activities.
Seaweeds constitute an important part of the coastal and ocean ecosystems providing food and habitat for a variety of marine life. The debris deposited on the shoreline provides habitat and adds nutrients and organic matter to the ecosystem. Organic matter in the wrack favours the development of creatures like small crustaceans and insects. They in turn provide food for fish and nesting and migrating birds. The wrack deposits also serve as means of dispersal for many species. Moreover it is a nature’s way of protecting the coastline and preventing its erosion!!
Though Padina is known to be of little use, in certain places, farmers turn this seaweed into a fertilizer by composting. There are research reports revealing the feasibility of using Padina as a bioindicator for monitoring heavy metal pollution of the marine world. Certain species of Padina are also used for the green synthesis of variable nanoparticles of gold and silver. These biologically synthesized nanoparticles can be used for cosmetics, foods and many other consumer goods, besides medical applications.
Article contributed by Dr. Jackson Achankunju, Faculty in Biology, College of Applied Science, A’Sharqiyah University, exclusively reported by Algae Wolrd News