seaweed [%PREMIUM_LINK%] (sē'wēd') Pronunciation Key |
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Any of various red, green, or brown algae that live in ocean waters. Some species of seaweed are free-floating, while others are attached to the ocean bottom. Seaweed range from the size of a pinhead to having large fronds (such as those of many kelps) that can be as much as 30.5 m (100 ft) in length. Certain species are used for food (such as nori) and fertilizer, and others are harvested for carrageenan and other substances used as thickening, stabilizing, emulsifying, or suspending agents in industrial, pharmaceutical, and food products. Seaweed is also a natural source of the element iodine, which is otherwise found only in very small amounts. See more at brown alga, green alga, red alga.