Hello Botany Photo of the Day readers. In Daniel’s absence we will attempt to deliver the BPotD at the high level and consistency that has been its hallmark. I am especially grateful to Daniel, as he has taught me much about IT and photography. That said, please bear with me and the crew as we take over the task.
Ingrid Hoff, Horticultural Manager at UBCBG wrote today’s entry.
Tourism is the number one industry in Bali, Indonesia. But not so on the tiny Balinese island of Nusa Lembongan. On Nusa Lembongan it’s all about seaweed.
The villagers on this small island off the eastern coast of Bali make their living farming two species of seaweed, Eucheuma spinosum and more commonly Eucheuma cottonii. These seaweeds grow on submerged strings that are stretched between bamboo poles in the shallow, warm, nutrient rich waters. These aquatic fields give the ocean surrounding the island a “patchwork quilt” look.
New growth can be gathered every 45 days, so there is almost always a harvest going on. Villagers wade out into the shallows and fill their boats (or sometimes large baskets) with the seaweed. Back on the beach it is laid out on tarps to dry in the sun and eventually shipped around the world to be used as a thickening ingredient (carrageenan) for use in food (ice cream, diet products etc.) and cosmetics (lotions, shampoo, etc.).
Michael Guiry has an informative write-up on carrageenan on his seaweed site.