[USA] Louisiana State University molecular biologist Naohiro Kato is confronting plastic pollution one necklace and doubloon at a time. Continue reading Made from microalgae, these mardi gras beads are biodegradable
[USA] “Nature sometimes isn’t pretty,” said University of Maryland environmental scientist Peter May, grabbing a clump of slimy Continue reading Steve Baragona: Algae harnessed to make clean water, clean power
[UK] If you’re concerned about the lack of trees in cities, there may be something in the works to help calm you down. Photo.Synth.Etica Continue reading This algae curtain may lead to healthier air in cities
Shorelines around Florida and the Caribbean have been choked with invaders over the past month. No, it’s not tourists — it’s seaweed.
Sargassum seaweed, which originates in the Gulf of Mexico and is actually a type of algae, has been washing up on beaches and coastlines in vacation-heavy hotspots like Miami and Cancun since July.
The weeds have wreaked havoc on local fauna, choking coral reefs and destroying habitats for birds, sea turtles, and fish. The seaweed deluge has also made life difficult for fisherman, since it is capable of wrecking boat propellers, fishing nets, and engines.
Sargassum seaweed is usually pushed by currents into the Sargasso Sea — a large gyre off the coast of North America — where the floating mats serve as an important habitat for marine organisms.
Researchers are struggling to figure out why the weeds have started washing up on Caribbean coastlines. Some experts say the influx of Sargassum could be fueled by a combination of increased nitrogen pollution from agricultural runoff and rising ocean temperatures, according to The New Republic.
The first Sargassum invasion in the Caribbean was recorded in 2011, according to the BBC.
In some extreme cases, resorts have had to close beaches during the busy summer season to remove the seaweed. Here’s what the invasion looks like:
Sargassum algae is pictured along Punta Piedra beach in Tulum, Mexico on August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Israel LealThe most recent invasions began in July, and experts say they may last through September.
The island of Barbados declared a national emergency in August because of the seaweed invasion.
The seaweed can pile up to 7 meters thick (over 22 feet) on coastlines.
“We’ve had mass mortality of sea turtles that have gotten trapped under ever-thickening piles,” Hazel Oxenford, a Barbados-based fisheries biologist at the University of the West Indies, told The New Republic. “When the turtles try to come up for air, they drown.”
In its natural habitat in the Sargasso Sea, the floating algae provides a habitat for fish and crustaceans, which seabirds and sharks then feed on.
Researchers struggling to understand these Sargassum blooms have said more research is needed, especially into the role of nitrogen pollution and ocean acidification.
“The issue is that we never know what it’s going to be like — we can have a week or two weeks where it’s very clear and then all of a sudden overnight it washes in,” Larry Basham, chief operating officer of Elite Island Resorts, told the BBC.
“It’s yet another man-made problem that’s been thrown at the Caribbean that isn’t our doing,” Oxenford told The New Republic.
Photo: In this Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018 photo, children play on the beach full of sargassum in Bahia La Media Luna, near Akumal in Quintana Roo state, Mexico. AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
View original article at: A dramatic seaweed invasion has hit coastlines across Florida and the Caribbean, killing wildlife
Contact Algae World News for algae industry advertising and other opinions: firstname.lastname@example.org
[UK, Mexico] A Mexican company specialising in microalgae air filtration systems, BiomiTech, will launch its award-winning BioUrban range in Continue reading BiomiTech introduces microalgae air filtration
[India] The Noctiluca algae, commonly known as sea tinkle, is a parasite and occurs in patches or ‘blooms’ in the Northern Arabian Continue reading ‘Glow-in-the-dark algae may be sign of global warming
[Global] Coral reefs are vibrant, diverse ecosystems that serve as home to 25 percent of marine species, including 4,000 species of Continue reading What is going on with the world’s corals, what is being done to help, and what can you do
[Global] Human activities are driving phosphorus levels in the world’s lakes, rivers and other freshwater bodies to a critical point. The Continue reading Humans are overloading the world’s freshwater bodies with phosphorus
[USA] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has noticed that Ohio’s environmental authorities seemed to overlook some key Continue reading Welcome to algae fight, feds
[USA] Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker entered a food design competition in 2010 with an industrial design project to combat Continue reading Engineers develop edible straws to combat plastic pollution