Environmental

Sargassum seaweed  piling up on Florida beaches here to stay

Sargassum seaweed- credit Cristina Maldonado

Sargassum seaweed  piling up on Florida beaches here to stay

TreasureCoast, Fl- The clumps of brown seaweed that smell like rotten eggs and are causing disruptions along Florida’s Atlantic beaches won’t be going away anytime soon. That from a new study released yesterday.

The University of South Florida report suggests the pungent, slimy seaweed, known as sargassum, is on track to continue to be just as bad for coastal regions as in the past. The university’s team discovered in satellite images that areas of this type of seaweed stretched across surface waters from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. 

They estimated that it weighed more than 20 million tons. The researchers say it’s not poisonous, but it is more of a public nuisance and can cause some public health concerns. The thick seaweed releases hydrogen sulfide gas that smells like rotten eggs, which can cause problems for those with respiratory issues.

Sargassum is naturally occurring, but the amount of it has increased over the past several years. Researchers believe climate change has played a role. Rising seawaters and an increase in nutrients from river sources make its way to the sea, causing the sargassum to increase in growth.

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