SEASIDE >> Bright green stuff washing ashore on Seaside area beaches likely is a common marine algae known as sea lettuce, experts said Wednesday.
The stuff, which is not uncommon in… Monterey Bay and local estuary waters, added emerald, lawn-like appearances to beaches between Monterey and Seaside the past couple of days.
A Moss Landing marine science student said she saw “quite a bit” while running Tuesday on Moss Landing State Beach, but not as much as reported in the Seaside area.
“It’s pretty darn common in these waters,” said Maureen Wise, who studies marine algae at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.
She said a convergence of currents and the seasonal bloom of the algae probably was responsible for the scene that greeted some beachgoers.
James Nothhelfer, a supervising state beach lifeguard, said it looked like a bright green seaweed strewn on the sand, but no one reported any problems due to it. It was particularly heavy on a stretch of beaches between Highway 218 and Tioga Avenue, he said.
At least one person forwarded pictures of the stuff — part of the class of algae called ulva — to the Hopkins Marine Station, where folks concluded it was probably ulva.
Several species of ulva, all of which grow along the California coast, resemble bright green sheets and are also popularly known as “the green layer,” according to the website of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
In the marine science world, it’s evidently kind of a “meh” occurrence, not likely to cause any researchers to get green with envy.
“There’s not too much buzz about it,” Wise said.
Photo caption: Green algae covers the Del Monte beach in Seaside on Thursday. (Vern Fisher)
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