Massive quantities of pelagic sargassum have been washing up along Caribbean shorelines this year, significantly disrupting coastal habitats, local fishing, tourism and community activities. Scientists with the University of Southern Mississippi – Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) and their regional collaborators are assessing critical aspects of this event (as with the 2011 Caribbean mass sargassum strandings event), including the source and causes. Jim Franks, fisheries biologist with the GCRL, recently announced a GCRL website (with user-friendly online reporting form) designed specifically to accommodate the reporting of large quantities of pelagic sargassum throughout the Caribbean region. This site serves as a data reporting/collection center and represents a service available to individuals, organizations and fisheries agencies throughout the region for contributing their observations to the sargassum information database. Reported observations are an extremely valuable component of ongoing assessments and are greatly appreciated as scientists work to understand these events.
Please click on the links below for more information:
The USM-GCRL ‘Pelagic Sargassum in the Caribbean’ website main page is found at http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/sargassum
The GCRL’s online Sargassum Report Form is found at ‘Report an Observation’ http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/sargassum/sargassum.observation.form.php
Resource documents (GCFI proceedings/presentations) are found at http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/sargassum/sargassum.resources.php
Above: Pelagic sargassum on the East Coast of Barbados – September 2014 – credit H. Oxenford
Above: Pelagic Sargassum – Puerto Rico – September 2014 – credit H. Luiz
Above: Pelagic Sargassum – St. Vincent – August 2014 – credit E. Doyle