Seaweed Blob Shrinks Dramatically on Its Method to Florida

However scientists don’t know why the decline was so fast. One principle is that sturdy winds attributable to current tropical storms may have dissipated the sargassum into smaller clumps, or sunk it to the ocean ground, Dr. Hu mentioned, making it onerous to see from a satellite tv for pc. “There could possibly be different causes, we simply don’t know,” he added.

Whereas floating sargassum can profit marine animals by offering shade and shelter, it begins to die as soon as it comes ashore, degrading water high quality and polluting seashores, scientists say. The decaying algae additionally releases hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gasoline that smells like rotten eggs, and may trigger respiratory issues in people. Some kinds of micro organism could colonize rafts of sargassum and marine plastics, which, as soon as ashore, can pose a danger to public well being, in response to a current research revealed by researchers from Florida Atlantic College.

Sarah Collier, who works for Seabird Key, a non-public island trip rental in Key West, mentioned that her neighborhood had been on edge since listening to of the sargassum blob earlier this yr. “It’s such a reduction,” she mentioned of stories that it was dissipating within the Gulf of Mexico, noting that she had not personally seen extra seaweed than typical.

However whereas tour operators, holidaymakers and locals in Florida are having fun with sargassum-free seashores, the state of affairs will not be as rosy additional south.