A heavy Sargassum year to come

My research with the Jumby Bay Hawksbill Project has brought me face to face with the Sargassum issue in the Caribbean. Huge amounts of the seaweed have been clogging coastal waters periodically since 2011. We have highlighted this issue in Abaco Scientist blog posts, and published a natural history note about it in 2015.

2018 is trending to be a major year for the macroalgae. We are seeing significant Sargassum arrivals already – of the scope that typically don’t show up until the summer. We will be watching the issue closely this hawksbill nesting season (starts June 1!). We will also be monitoring the region for potential solutions. Offshore harvesting, beach harvesting for fertilizer, etc., have shown promise but are nowhere near close to grappling with the amounts of Sargassum in the region.

Photo credit: David Stubbs

Andrew Maurer

I am a PhD Candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at NC State. My PhD research focuses on hawksbill sea turtle nesting in Antigua & Barbuda. Contact me at asmaurer@ncsu.edu.