"Smothered by Seaweed: Sargassum Wreaks Havoc on Caribbean Ecosystems"

"Its growth driven to epic levels by climate change and fertilizer runoff, sargassum puts dozens of species — and people — at risk."

"For more than 20 years, Mexican biologist María del Carmen García Rivas has led a crusade to protect the coral lining the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea.

As director of the Puerto Morelos Reefs National Park in México, she has advocated for reforms to reduce runoff and other pollution from coastal development.

She has spearheaded efforts to control lionfish, an introduced species that has put at risk the nearly 670 species of marine fauna that inhabit the park. And since 2018, she has organized brigades to restore reefs damaged by tissue-destroying coral diseases known as white syndromes. But now, yet another threat has been keeping her awake at night: massive blooms of sargassum seaweed reaching the coast of the park.

“When the sargassum, a macroalgae that usually floats, reaches the coasts, it begins to decompose, generating an environment without oxygen that kills different organisms,” she said. “It mainly affects species that cannot move or move very little, such as some starfish, sea urchins, the sea grasses themselves, and of course corals.”"

Maria Mónica Monsalve (América Futura, El País América) and Krista Campbell (Television Jamaica) report in The Revelator May 3, 2024.

Source: The Revelator, 05/07/2024