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Masses of brown algae decreased 'beyond expectations' in June

Researcher said there was a 75% decrease of sargassum in the Gulf of Mexico in June.
Seaweed covers the Atlantic shore in Frigate Bay, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Posted at 2:58 PM, Jul 05, 2023

People along the Gulf of Mexico may not have to worry about sargassum, a large cluster of brown algae, this season. 

The University of South Florida and NASA monitors the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, which extends from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Researcher said there was a 75% decrease of sargassum in the Gulf of Mexico in June, which was "beyond expectation." The researches added that this trend will likely continue for the next two or three months, noting it's "good news" for many Florida residents.

Seaweed washed up on a beach

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The bacteria that researchers think is wrapped up in the seaweed is known as Vibrio.

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It's not uncommon for Florida beaches to be hit by sargassum. It happens every year. The orange and brown seaweed isn't just an unpleasant sight, it also releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere when it decomposes. Many beachgoers say it smells like rotting eggs. 

Municipalities across Florida spend millions of dollars every year removing the seaweed from beaches. 

There was concern earlier this year that it could be a really bad season for sargassum. In March, researchers noted that a record 13 metric tons of the algae was detected in the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt. 

However, masses can break up in windy conditions. Animals and boats are also known to disrupt the clusters of seaweed.