Seaweed Balls at Middleton Beach
We saw this beautiful photo above on Instagram posted by DreamLiveExplore and were totally intrigued. Many seaweed balls have appeared at Middleton beach – some of them are so perfectly round, and seemed to appear from nowhere and have just washed up on shore.
It was a site to see when hundreds of balls washed up at Dee Why beach in New South Wales in September 2014. At the time scientists looked into the phenomenon and identified these algal balls as Chaetomorpha Linum, a green seaweed found all around the world but usually grows as a dense mat.
Usually seaweed lives attached to rocks or other surfaces. Occasionally these free-living seaweeds are rolled around by the currents and grow into balls. Bioligists call this growth form aegogropilous. If the weather conditions are right and the currents are flowing a particular way, these balls may be formed.
Seaweed drifting in our oceans is something most of us just see as washed up things on the beach and try to avoid them when swimming. However they are an important part of the functioning natural ecosystems in our oceans as they help to transport animals and move food resources between habitats. According to Science Alert, when seaweed washes onto our sandy beaches, they actually provide food and habitat for many small invertebrates which are essential food for visiting shore birds.
Similar seaweed balls have been sited before in the area – there were reports of this at Port Elliot in January 2015. See photo below by Trevor Hill on the Adelaide Cyclist site.
Have you seen these seaweed balls before? Let us know in the comments below if you have. If you’re in the Fleurieu Peninsula, you could stop by and check them out. Just tag us on Instagram @playandgoadelaide or #playandgoadelaide for us to share your pic.
If you are in the Fleurieu Peninsula here are some places to explore near here: Port Elliot, Victor Harbor and Granite Island
For activities and ideas for the Autumn 2017 School Holidays, check out our Guide here:
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