SEA Currents: News
July 08, 2019
SEA Semester’s Dr. Deb Goodwin Comments on Sargassum Inundation
SEA Semester in the NEWS
"Why Waves of Seaweed Have Been Smothering Caribbean Beaches"
By Ed Yong
Since 2011, blooms of Sargassum have wreaked havoc on tropical shores. A new study explains why this is likely a new normal.
In 2018, as seaweed piled up on beaches throughout the Caribbean, it began to rot. Already stinking and sulfurous, the thick layers began to attract insects and repel tourists. The seaweed—a type of brown algae called sargassum—had grown in the ocean and washed ashore in unprecedented quantities. It prevented fishers from getting into the water, and entangled their nets and propellers. It entangled sea turtles and dolphins, too, fatally preventing them from surfacing for air. It died and sank offshore, smothering seagrass meadows and coral reefs. Barbados declared a national emergency.