American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Sargassum Invasion of Coastal Environments: A Growing Concern

Clifford Louime, Jodany Fortune and Gary Gervais

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2017.58.64

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 13, Issue 1

Pages 58-64


Floating tropical brown macroalgae, commonly called Sargassum, besieging the Caribbean coastlines have long been a regular occurrence in the region, especially during the fall and winter months. These washed-up seaweeds are considered by scientists as an important part of the coastal ecosystem, as they serve as habitat and nurseries for numerous marine species. However, in recent years, the region has seen an explosion in Sargassum densities with unusually high extent and frequency. This natural catastrophe, as some label the 2013 invasion, has even crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reach the west coast of Africa. Some scientists have linked this disaster with global climate change and the concomitant higher than normal temperatures. Now the question is being raised as to whether the latest seen invasion of Sargassum represents a seasonal anomaly or a regime shift in ocean currents and climate. Therefore, it is urgent for the scientific community to understand the causes of these recent occurrences and provide potential remedial solutions, as these invasions could have significant negative impacts on marine ecosystems, even disrupting entire economic activities of local communities.


© 2017 Clifford Louime, Jodany Fortune and Gary Gervais. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.