ICCE 2022

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DYNAMICS AND MANAGEMENT OF PELAGIC SARGASSUM SPP. IN THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN. (2023). Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 37, management.25. https://doi.org/10.9753/icce.v37.management.25


Sargassum fluitans and S. natans (sargasso) are species of brown floating algae. They are found in the Atlantic, concentrated the Sargasso Sea, and also, since 2011, in the Great Altantic Sargassum Belt (Wang et al., 2019). Floating masses of sargasso offer resting, reproduction and feeding areas for many species (some of economic interest), and serve as a biological connectivity vector. However, since late 2014, massive quantities of sargasso have appeared on the coasts of the Mexican Caribbean. This has brought serious negative impacts, such as mortality of nearshore benthic flora and fauna, beach erosion, pollution, a decrease in tourism and high costs in managing the impacts (Chavez et al., 2020). Depending on hydrodynamic conditions, sargasso is transported to the coasts (beaching) or remains offshore, carried away by the ocean currents of the Atlantic. One of the main challenges in understanding sargasso dynamics has been the unpredictability of the influx, as sargasso concentrations in the ocean vary seasonally and interannually, and the ocean concentrations of sargasso and the beached biomass do not always coincide. Field observations, satellite imaginary analysis and numerical modelling have been used in various studies to understand the dynamics of sargasso.


Chávez, V., Uribe-Martínez, A., Cuevas, E., Rodríguez-Martínez, R.E., van Tussenbroek, B.I., Francisco, V., Estévez, M., Celis, L.B., Monroy-Velázquez, L.V., Leal-Bautista, R., Álvarez-Filip, L., García-Sánchez, M., Masia, L. & Silva, R. (2020). Massive Influx of Pelagic Sargassum spp. on the Coasts of the Mexican Caribbean 2014–2020: Challenges and Opportunities, Water, 12(10).

López-Miranda, JL, Celis, LB, Estévez, M, Chávez, V, van Tussenbroek, BI, Uribe-Martínez, A, Cuevas, E, Pantoja, IR, Masia, L, Cauich-Kantun, C and Silva, R. (2021) Commercial Potential of Pelagic Sargassum spp. in Mexico, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8:768470.

Wang, M., Hu, C., Barnes, B.B., Mitchum, G., Lapointe, B., and Montoya, J.P. (2019). The great Atlantic Sargassum belt. Science 365(6448), 83-87.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Valeria Chávez, Abigail Uribe-Martínez, Eduardo Cuevas, Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek, Rodolfo Silva