Scientists research sargassum from Cayman to Florida

| 13/08/2019 | 5 Comments
Cayman News Service
Researchers at the University of Miami study the sargassum

(CNS): University of Miami researchers are investigating everything about sargassum, from its movement to its chemical composition. They are looking for differences in the seaweed washing up on Florida’s beaches and the samples that washed up here on Grand Cayman. Sargassum has been sent to Miami from all over the Caribbean, where it is being analysed in laboratories to establish a ‘fingerprint’ for the seaweed.

The surge in sargassum blooms over the last few years is becoming a critical problem for countries around the region, as it smothers beaches and creates an unpleasant stench as it decomposes. It also presents a barrier to nesting turtles and is preventing hatchlings reaching the ocean. Therefore, understanding how to manage it is evermore important.

In a report on Miami University’s UNews site, scientists said there is still much they don’t know, including the fundamental elements of its biology.

What scientists do know is that it is the only seaweed in the world that does not begin life attached to the seafloor. Sargassum is a floating habitat, supporting an incredible diversity of organisms, including the larvae and juveniles of a huge amount of marine life, from hatchling sea turtles and seahorses to crabs and shrimp. It is not until the floating macroalgae begins to decompose near the shore that it becomes a problem.

Here in Cayman, cleaning beaches of sargassum formed part of the recent NiCE work programme and the government is currently working on a long-term solution to manage what everyone now believes is a problem that is here to stay. But whatever the researchers learn in Miami, their findings will play an important part in tackling the issue around the region.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What a waste.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You mean CNS negative posters can’t solve this?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not negative. Rather observant.
      In this case, so called scientists have admitted “… there is still much they don’t know, including the fundamental elements of its biology.“ So they’re just “spending” the money.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great! It may contain the cure for cancer. Who knows!

    • Anonymous says:

      They’re not looking for that. Frankly, they don’t know what they’re doing since, “scientists said there is still much they don’t know, including the fundamental elements of its biology.”

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