Macroalgae are one of the oldest multi-cellular lifeforms found in Earth’s fossil record, dating back at least 555 million years.  Although we tend to refer to macroalgae in general as seaweed and our edible species as sea vegetables, only the green and red macroalgae are related to plants; the brown algae (kelps) are classified in the Kingdom Chromista.  Humans are more closely related to fungi than brown algae are to red or green algae! 

The first recorded human use of seaweed  for food and medicine dates back to 3,000 BC in China, though there's evidence we’ve used this rich natural resource for far longer. Chinese scholars and indigenous peoples have long studied seaweed but western science didn't address it in a systematic fashion until the late 18th century, when the first macroalgae species was described and given a Latin name by Pehr Osbeck in 1757. Over 12,000 seaweed species have been described since. Phycology (the study of algae) became a recognized field in the late 19th century, and in 1952 seaweed science came of age with the First International Seaweed Symposium (ISS) held in Edinburgh Scotland. The ISS has held 23 meetings since then, and scores of seaweed books, several major Phycology journals, and thousands of scientific articles have been published. 

Despite this wealth of information there is still much we don’t know about seaweed, and new findings continue to be published every year on these ancient life forms. Many, but fortunately not all, of the respected science publications require purchase or can only be accessed through an academic institution.  Below, we provide links to some free, open access science articles & resources that we’ve found helpful, arranged by topic.  Most of them touch upon or relate to the eight species we sell, while others offer a global perspective and cover broader topics such as food or the seaweed industry around the world. Articles were chosen for their informational value, but they don’t all necessarily reflect our point of view or the unique set of sustainable harvesting and processing practices that we’ve developed over 30 years.

You’ll need Adobe Acrobat (still free for now) or another PDF program to read most of these articles. Some links open to the article itself and others lead to a journal site where you can click on the PDF icon to either read or download the article. Please let us know if you have difficulty with any of the links. 

Biology and Ecology

Macroalgae identification and fundamental biology & ecology.

History of Human Use

Sea vegetables have been used by humans for thousands of years as food and medicine.

Ecosystem Services

Learn about the important roles seaweed plays in ocean ecology and global climate.


How is seaweed sustainably managed and harvested around the world?


Rockweed is Maine's most abundantly harvested seaweed for use in human, animal, and plant nutrition and health.  However, rockweed harvesting is controversial in some quarters.  The below articles address some of the concerns raised by critics, dispel some of the myths, and describe the beneficial uses of rockweed in agriculture.

Processing and Flavor Science

How are sea vegetables processed and what gives them their unique flavor?


Sea vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse. These articles explain why and how.

Vitamin B12

Sea vegetables may be one of the few vegetative sources of vitamin B12 and is a favorite food of vegetarians for that reason.

Therapeutic Uses

Asian and indigenous cultures have long valued sea vegetables for their healing properties. Modern science is showing why.

Anticancer Properties

Seaweed has been shown in the lab to have anticancer properties, though studies have yet to confirm this in human subjects.

Antimicrobial Properties

Bioactive compounds found in seaweed have antimicrobial properties.


Sea vegetables are one of the highest sources of naturally occurring iodine, an essential human nutrient, found in food.

Heavy Metals

Are trace levels of heavy metals found in sea vegetables and other foods a health concern?


    Seaweed aquaculture, or mariculture, is one of the world's fastest growing agricultural sectors. Most of the seaweed used today by humans is farmed.

    Climate Change

    How will predicted climate change affect the distribution and abundance of seaweed?

    World Wide Web

    Seaweed science and information resources on the world wide web.

    Scientific Journals

    Scientific Organizations

    • The International Seaweed Association. The ISA is an international organization dedicated to encouraging research and development of seaweed and seaweed products, and sponsor of the International Seaweed Symposium held every 3 years at various locations around the world.
    • Phycological Society of America. The Phycological Society of America (PSA) was founded in 1946 to promote research and teaching in all fields of Phycology. The society publishes the Journal of Phycology and the Phycological Newsletter.
    • International Phycological Society. Founded in 1960, the mission of the IPS is to develop phycology; distribute phycological information; and foster international cooperation among phycologists and phycological societies. The IPS publishes the journal Phycologia