June 13, 2019 | By E. Dan Klepper
Small quantities of a seaweed called sargassum wash ashore all year long. But every few years, beginning in April, the sargassum arrives en masse—a deluge of amber-colored stems, leaves, and tiny gas bladders that help the plants stay afloat (and pop when squeezed). This relatively unpredictable event seems to occur after huge blooms of sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean, some 2,000 or more miles away. While piles of sargassum might hinder swimming and sunbathing, they also provide opportunities for families and other beachcombers to find seahorses, strange shrimp, and other tiny creatures that hopped a ride to Texas.