During a dive along the Breakwater in Monterey, California in early June, Melanie Moreno, a Reef Check volunteer diver, observed what she suspected might be the invasive species, Sargassum horneri. .css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}A floating mass of seaweed stretching from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico is now the biggest seaweed bloom in the world, according to satellite observations. The project is still in the research phase and the researchers have converted 100kg (220lb) of sargassum to date but Allen hopes to scale it up and partner with companies and governments to tackle the issue. However, outside its original range it is found to be highly invasive, and it has been reported to reach 10 m, although most mature plants are 2-3 m in length. Sargassum is abundant in the ocean. They found that fires burning in Africa supply up to half of the phosphorus deposited annually to the Amazon basin. Benefits. Deforestation and fertiliser use are among the factors thought to be driving the growth. While the coronavirus pandemic has stalled production for now, Morrison hopes to scale up and start selling cheap sargassum feed across Jamaica next year. Before that we did not see much sargassum. The paired fins are used exactly like arms and legs, and the Sargassum fish is a clumsy and reluctant swimmer. In the past three years, tourist numbers have plummeted due to sargassum in Playa del Carmen, Balderas says. Researchers analysing satellite images of the bloom estimated its mass to be more than 20 million tonnes – heavier than 200 fully loaded aircraft carriers. Tehran says the US is in no position to set preconditions and economic sanctions must be lifted. Toilets: Men’s, Women’s or Gender-Neutral? Food remains containing residues of brown algae, belonging to the genus Sargassum or Eisenia, shellfish, and fish have been found on Japanese prehistoric archeological sites (Nisizawa et al., 1987). In parts of Mexico and the Caribbean, locals are taking the matter into their own hands and finding innovative ways to turn the environmental disaster on their coastlines into a sustainable economic opportunity. Iran rejects Biden's nuclear deal revival terms, Why Trump keeps outperforming the polls. In the summer of 2018, an almost incomprehensibly large mass of stringy brown seaweed appeared in the Atlantic Ocean. As sargassum decomposes on beaches, it releases disagreeable odours. By Katie Langin Jun. Mysterious masses of seaweed assault Caribbean islands . In laboratory culture and within its native range, The sargassum seaweed can be found on the Caribbean coastlines of Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Cuba, Panama, Guadeloupe (a French overseas region), Belize, Guyana and Guatemala. Video, Toilets: Men’s, Women’s or Gender-Neutral? Riviera Maya seaweed map in Mexico Sargassum is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) macroalga (seaweed) in the order Fucales. Find out more about how we calculated this figure here. Bartlett recently found that the bloom is a mix of different variants of Sargassum. And sargassum is also a fairly efficient carbon sink ; it sucks in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it. As of June 2018, the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, as scientists call it, extended 8,850km (5,500 miles) and was made up of over 20 million tonnes of biomass. There is also talk of bio-gas in Barbados depends on a regular supply of biomass and affordable collection costs. If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “The Essential List”. The pungent smell and unsightly appearance are driving tourists away from beach resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula – a blow to the region’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism. Among them are abnormal ocean currents and wind patterns linked to climate change. They are certainly one of the most bizarre fishes you may encounter. It is only found in the Atlantic Ocean and provides refuge for migratory species. Samples he’s collected had more nitrogen by weight the farther south they were found, a symptom of nitrogen fertilizer enrichment. Sargassum species are found throughout tropical areas of the world and are often the most obvious macrophyte in near-shore areas where sargassum beds often occur near coral reefs. It may look like the attached marine plants found in coastal waters, but it’s found in the middle of the North Atlantic Gyre. "In the open ocean, Sargassum provides great ecological values, serving as a habitat and refuge for various marine animals," said co-researcher Dr Mengqiu Wang. Members of this genus are referred to as “Sargassum” by both biologists and laypeople, an example of a situation where the scientific name for something is also its common name. The incidence has been greater than normal and depending on the weather conditions, winds and tides may bring quantities of Sargassum to shore in some areas. What is Sargassum seaweed and where is it found? Sargassum is a genus of large brown seaweed (a type of algae) that floats in island-like masses, and is common in waters off the U.S. South Atlantic coast. Super food Sargassum – View at amazon Sargassum Uses View at amazon – Sargassum Seaweed Salve . "This is all ultimately related to climate change because it affects precipitation and ocean circulation and even human activities, but what we've shown is that these blooms do not occur because of increased water temperature," said Dr Hu. While the exact causes for the boom have yet to be pinned down, Wang’s team believes that a number of environmental factors are contributing to the sargassum explosion. “Sargassum can suffocate coral reefs by covering them and decimate breeding grounds for turtles,” says Mike Allen, a marine scientist from the University of Exeter who has developed a cheap way of converting sargassum into biofuels and sustainable fertiliser. It was apparently the name they gave to the wooly rock rose that grew in their water wells that they called sargaço. The sargassum fish is known to use this for their particular reproductive biology. In Europe it extends along the coasts of Great Britain, France, Scandinavia, Baltic Sea, Helgoland, Netherlands, Ireland, the Iberian Peninsula and into the Mediterranean from Italy and the Adriatic. They are brown genus which may grow to a length of meters. “It’s supposed to be a dream beach.”, Entrepreneurs are finding an increasing number of ways to turn the sargassum glut into something useful – such as paper (Credit: Getty Images), While in St Catherine’s, a coastal community in south-east Jamaica, Daveian Morrison is using sargassum to produce animal feed. They are also called planktonic (free-floating species) which inhabits coral reefs and shallow water and are the genus of brown algae of sargassaceae family. Christopher Columbus first reported it … Biogeography Global Sargassum polycystum are mainly found in the Indo-pacific region and often on shallow reef flats and rocky bottom (Fig. Removing the seaweed from the beaches is a costly and time-consuming process. Do ‘ocean’ and ‘sea’ mean the same thing? The seaweed (Sargassum) is a type of open ocean brown algae. Since 2011, sargassum rafts of unprecedented size have had been found on Caribbean shores, with a strong impact on tourism, fisheries and wildlife. It can clamber through and cling to the seaweed stalks with its prehensile pectoral fins. After analysing 19 years of satellite data, researchers at the University of South Florida found that since 2011 the sargassum bloom has appeared annually and is growing in size. Sargassum are generally found in “tidal splash zones, rocky marine pools, the intertidal zone, coral reefs and moderately deep coastal zone waters”.Sargassum is found in throughout the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic.Sargassum typically circulates in those regions and towards the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, which is 1000 km wide and 3200 km long. When scattered across open water, sargassum – sometimes known as the “floating golden rainforest” –  serves as an important breeding ground for turtle hatchlings and a refuge for hundreds of fish species. Morrison founded Awganic Inputs in 2018 after receiving reports of sargassum piled 15ft (4.6m) high on the beaches. The species was first found in the British Isles in the Isle of Wight in 1973. 4) []. Indeed, a Caribbean research cruise in autumn 2014 recorded sargassum concentrations 10 times that of the 2011 event, and 300 times greater than any other autumn in the previous 20 years, according to research by marine scientist Amy Siuda and colleagues at the Sea Education Association, Woods Hole in Massachusetts. The sargassum fish spends it entire life associated with floating sea grass beds – mostly sargassum algae. Using genetic tests we may determine if they are the … In the open ocean, sargassum … “Many people see sargassum as a nuisance,” he says. “It is a good vegetation in the ocean, on the beach it turns into something bad,” says Wang. The sargassum is mostly affecting southern and eastern coasts and in the Eastern Caribbean, many of the main tourist beaches face west. Mats of free-floating sargassum, a common seaweed found in the Sargasso Sea, provide shelter and habitat to many animals. Awganic Inputs recently carried out a pilot project, converting 544kg (1,200lb) of sargassum into goat feed and selling it to farmers for $0.26 (20p) a kilogram. A sea belongs to the ocean; seas are normally found where land and ocean meet. Sargassum was named by the Portuguese sailors who found it in the Sargasso Sea, east of North America. The country currently imports $15m (£11.3m) of mutton and goat meat each year. Sargassum has many nutrients, minerals and salt,” he says. Other researchers, such as Elizabeth Johns of the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, agree that 2011 was a tipping point for sargassum in the Atlantic, suggesting future blooms are likely to be even larger. When Sargassum is too abundant, researchers use dipnets and visual observations to sample the community. Sargassum muticum has a range stretching from Campbell river, British Columbia to Baja in California. In the Caribbean we find both S. natans and S. fluitans – two species which are holopelagic; they reproduce without ever being attached to the sea floor. Sargassum seaweed is a type of seaweed found along the coasts of Japan and China. have been found in fossilized meals dating back 10,000 years (Pérez, 1997). In the Indian Ocean, they range from the tip of South Africa north to Indian and Sri Lanka (eastwardly). In open water, sargassum provides a crucial habitat for fish and other marine animals – but on shore it can make it harder for turtles to spawn and hatch (Credit: Getty Images). The blooms are at their largest in June and July, she says. Then women living in nearby villages, that date back to the Maya period, mix the processed sargassum with glycerin and honey to make soap which they sell for $2 (£1.50) a bar to hotels, hospitals and shops in the area. Another common species of sargassum shrimp, Leander tenuicornis (Palaemonidae) can be spotted by its long transparent claws or "chelae".
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