A World Adrift: Life in the Sargassum Slideshow

Smithsonian Marine Science Network Postdoctoral Fellow, Seabird McKeon, returns from the Smithsonian field site in Belize. Together with Dan Barshis of Stanford University, Seabird reports on the seemingly invisible inhabitants of drifting sargassum seaweeds. As with many parts of the ocean, a ball of sargassum is more than meets the eye. Check out his blog post to learn about the world adrift.

This shrimp is colored to fit in - probably why they are common members of the seaweed community.
Sargassum forms dense clumps up to the size of a beach ball that slowly rotate as they drift. The sargassum hosts bryozoans, hydroids and more obviously, crustaceans like a baby swimming crab. A juvenile swimming crab sits on a bed of sargassum seaweed. Juvenile plane-head filefishWinner of the ‘best camoflauge’ contest, the nudibranch Scyllaea pelagica is betrayed only by motion.Brown grass shrimp on a floating piece of seaweed. The Sargassum frogfish is a small but voracious predator - it can ingest animals up to it’s own size!The fins of the frogfish are perfect for creeping around in the algae and stalking unsuspecting prey.