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Sargassum algae: why aren't there any in Varadero?


Not all seaweed is sargassum


The oceans are the natural habitat of algae. It is therefore normal to occasionally find them on the beach, especially if the sea has been rough.


But why have we talked so much about sargassum in recent years and what is special about it?


If we talk so much about sargassum, it is because they have washed up on certain beaches in an extremely invasive way.


In addition to cluttering the beaches, they emit a foul odor and gases which can bother some people.


What distinguishes sargassum and partly explains why it is found on beaches is that several varieties of sargassum are not "attached" to the sea floor and are therefore more easily transported by ocean currents.


"The fronds of certain tropical species can reach several meters in length (up to 12 meters). They can be attached to the bottom by a so-called "coriaceous" thallus , but certain Sargassum sometimes live exclusively floating; mainly in the sea of same name , in the Atlantic Ocean ." Source: Wikipedia




The brown tides


"In 2011 , a first, unprecedented wave of strandings hit the Caribbean area. The coastal deposits sometimes exceed 1 meter thick; they trap sea turtles and fill the air with a stench reminiscent of eggs. rotted over a significant part of the Antilles. Since then the phenomenon has tended to get worse, and it could in 2018 (according to trends deduced from satellite images) break records again. The French Antilles are suffering massive strandings of Sargassum fluitans and Sargassum natans ( between 20,000 and 40,000 tonnes of sargassum on the Guadeloupe coastline alone.

This unprecedented phenomenon adds its effects to that of green tides locally observed since the end of the 1980s , due to algae of the Enteromorpha genus which swarm seasonally due to nitrogen pollution coming mainly, at the beginning of the 1990s , according to Ifremer, from direct domestic discharges in certain watersheds ." Source: Wikipedia

To learn more about this algae, the Wikipedia article is well documented: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sargassum



Where do the sargassum algae that invade the beaches come from?


You'll probably want to answer: "From the Sargasso Sea!" Yes and no.


The sargassum that invades the beaches of the Caribbean islands, Mexico and Florida comes, according to the latest studies, from the coasts of Brazil.





We understand from these maps that Cuba is "protected", for the moment at least, from brown tides.


When there is sargassum seaweed in Cuba, it usually comes from the Sargasso Sea and is not too invasive.



For people who want to learn more


Here are some interesting sites:



What is sargassum (in English):




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