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Old 04-07-2019, 15:46   #1
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The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

Reference BBC News Article: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48869100


"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 algal explosion in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea could signify a new normal, say US scientists.

Deforestation and fertiliser use are among the factors thought to be driving the growth.

The seaweed has inundated beaches, causing an environmental nuisance.

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."


"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.

However, too much of the seaweed can smother corals and seagrasses, and end up on beaches, releasing gas that smells like rotten eggs.

Some 1,000km (621 miles) of Mexican beaches have been impacted this year. Removal is time-consuming, expensive, and not always effective."
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Old 04-07-2019, 16:00   #2
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

Hmmm. I wonder if anything would eat it, either au naturel or processed.
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Old 04-07-2019, 16:21   #3
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

It was especially thick this past season in the SW Carib. I motored into one patch so thick & deep that it stalled both engines.
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Old 04-07-2019, 16:24   #4
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

Don't fear, I collected most of it with my Hydrovane rudder recently....grrrrr
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Old 04-07-2019, 17:13   #5
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

Here is a site that tracks and forecasts the weed:

https://optics.marine.usf.edu/projects/saws.html

Ed
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Old 04-07-2019, 18:46   #6
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

Randall on Moli (Figure 8 Voyage) commented in his blog about how it kept jamming his Hydro Generator.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:35   #7
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

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Originally Posted by edmundsteele View Post
Here is a site that tracks and forecasts the weed:

https://optics.marine.usf.edu/projects/saws.html

Ed
Very interesting web site. The good news is that this year doesn't look to be as bad as last year. 2013 had almost none and 2016 had little. Hopefully next year will be less.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:06   #8
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

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Hmmm. I wonder if anything would eat it, either au naturel or processed.
May be not eat it but I would think it would make excellent fertiliser to grow things that can be eaten
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:18   #9
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

It is edible and nutritious altho not particularly tasty. It does make good mulch and fertilizer but needs to rinsed thoroughly to remove salt.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:21   #10
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

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May be not eat it but I would think it would make excellent fertiliser to grow things that can be eaten

Well this year's "crop" being the largest on record certainly will enable opportunities for composting massive quantities that end up on beaches and stinking up the place as it decomposes, emitting hazardous gases. Mexican and Caribbean beaches are heavily fouled by the thickening mats.

Indeed it has modest fertilizer value as to its percentage of nutrients, but one has to be careful as to salting your earth. It helps if the salt is leached by rain from the seaweed / compost before heavy application into a field, or to blend a larger portion of non-seaweed / non-salty compost with the seaweed compost.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:29   #11
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

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Well this year's "crop" being the largest on record certainly will enable opportunities for composting massive quantities that end up on beaches and stinking up the place as it decomposes, emitting hazardous gases. Mexican and Caribbean beaches are heavily fouled by the thickening mats.

Indeed it has modest fertilizer value as to its percentage of nutrients, but one has to be careful as to salting your earth. It helps if the salt is leached by rain from the seaweed / compost before heavy application into a field, or to blend a larger portion of non-seaweed / non-salty compost with the seaweed compost.

Actually it was the 2018 season that was the largest on record. While this year's spread is large, it is not as large or dense as last year's bloom.


Interestingly, in addition to the fertilizer use that you mention, it seems that there are some critters in the ocean that eat it. I wonder if those creatures are experiencing an increase in numbers as a result of this.
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Old 05-07-2019, 19:07   #12
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

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...massive quantities that end up on beaches and stinking up the place as it decomposes, emitting hazardous gases. Mexican and Caribbean beaches are heavily fouled by the thickening mats.
Just because it stinks to us, doesn't mean it's all bad: Wrack Community | Explore Beaches
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Old 05-07-2019, 21:02   #13
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

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Just because it stinks to us, doesn't mean it's all bad: Wrack Community | Explore Beaches

That is a very interesting site. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:02   #14
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

The Sargasso Sea is a haven of biodiversity, based upon floating Sargassum, the world’s only holopelagic seaweed, and there is growing recognition of the crucial role it plays in the wider North Atlantic ecosystem as habitat, foraging and spawning grounds, and as a migratory corridor.
The Sargasso Sea supports a range of endemic species and plays a critical role in supporting the life cycle of a number of threatened and endangered species.
Much more ➥ http://www.sargassoseacommission.org...eport.9.12.pdf
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Old 07-07-2019, 15:36   #15
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Re: The biggest sargassum seaweed bloom in the world

Saw he largest patches of weed about 125NM north of Bermuda this year. The most I’ve seen in the last five years. Several times I cleared clumps from the water vane of my Monitor self steering, although it didn’t seem to adversely effect the unit.
Saw far less Portuguese Men of War than in the last couple years.....perhaps there is a correlation?
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