ICS Lecture: “Sargassum invasion of coastal environments, a growing concern”



The Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP) invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture “Sargassum invasion of coastal environments: A growing concern” by PhD candidate candidate Jodany Fortuné (Department of Environmental Sciences, UPR-RP). Dr. Gary W. Gervais (Department of Environmental Sciences, UPR-RP) will introduce the speaker. The activity will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2019, 1:00-3:30pm, at Amphitheater Manuel Maldonado Denis, Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building (CRA 108), School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

Description: 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. Scientists consider these washed-up seaweeds 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.

This presentation will be broadcast LIVE online through the UPR-Rio Piedras web site at http://uprrp.edu.

Comments and suggestions on this presentation will be very welcome at iec.ics@upr.edu.

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[The photo above “Sargassum floats near Playa Flamenco in Puerto Rico,” 2015 is by Seán Kinane. For photo and article, see https://www.wmnf.org/another-algae-bloom-sargassum-beach-near-you/.]

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