Seaweed floods Colombian beach

Locals and tourists were shocked when seaweed washed ashore the coastline of Colombia’s San Andres island, flooding the area’s majestic beaches. Although seaweed is common on the island, residents said it rarely grows to this extent.

 

Speaking to the Weather Network UK, Professor Victor Smetacek, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, said big seaweed beaching events like this are triggered by winds that transport algae floating on the surface of the ocean on to the beaches. The free-floating algae are known as Sargassum.

“These “golden tides” occur regularly on the beaches of Texas (Gulf of Mexico) and in Bermuda, which is located in the Sargasso Sea,” said Professor Smetacek, who co-wrote a paper last year about the sudden increase in seaweed beaching.

Since 2011, the mass growth of Sargassum has occurred south of this normal range, along a belt extending from South America/Caribbean Islands to western Africa, said Professor Smetacek.

“We don’t know what caused free-floating algae to increase their range since 2011,” he added.

With files from Reuters

 

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