6th Jul 2016 - Product
Behind the Print: Seaweed
Seaweeds are important plants that are found in oceans and seas around the world, but that particularly thrive around the coastline of the British Isles from where we draw so much of the inspiration for our designs. Our Summer 2016 collection includes a Seaweed print, featuring watercolour illustrations of several species of seaweed that you can find in our coastal waters this summer.
Seaweeds are marine algae, and the shallow coastal waters of the UK are known as a “Goldilocks” zone for seaweeds, with an optimum seawater temperature range that allows over 650 different species to flourish. Seaweed forms the basis of the nearshore marine environment, acting as a source of shelter and food for thousands of marine creatures. Around the world seaweed not only provides a habitat for fisheries that feed millions of humans but is also a food source in its own right, is used in the production of medicines and cosmetics, and protects coastlines by reducing the impact of wave energy. As a food group, seaweeds can provide more minerals (they contain all the minerals that humans require), vitamins and trace elements than any other food group, and are also a great source of protein and fibre whilst being low in fat (and the fat found in seaweeds is unsaturated). In short, seaweed is a superfood that deserves to feature in modern diets more heavily than simply as the wrapping holding your nori roll together. Drinking seaweed infused gin doesn’t count though, unfortunately.
From Nature printed British Seaweeds Vol 3, published 1859.
Our seaweed print is in the style of a classic watercolour botanical illustration, and features several common species including serrated wrack, Carrageen (Irish) moss, channeled wrack and Cladophora. As our oceans are directly impacted by the multitude effects of climate change, including rises in sea temperature, increasing acidification and sea level rises, the abundance and distribution of different seaweeds can change over time and provide scientists with a greater understanding of the health of the oceans. Our friends at the Marine Conservation Society (who receive £3 for every pair of Riz Boardshorts sold) have teamed up with the Natural History Museum this summer to encourage the general public to contribute data from your day beside the sea (by undertaking a simple seaweed survey) so that they can track the migration of cold water species, the spread of non-native species, and the impacts of ocean acidification on seaweeds and soft coral weeds. It’s easy to download the Big Seaweed Search identification guide and recording form, and take part in some real citizen science for the benefit of our coastal and marine environment.