Data are being collected in Jamaica to assess the impact of ash clouds from the La Soufrière volcanic eruptions on sargassum prevalence around Jamaica, as part of the MONISARG project. Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) in Kingston Jamaica, have conducted five (5) beach surveys evaluating the volume and area of beached Sargassum in August 2021. Monitoring is being undertaken using a combination of line transects and drone imagery captures at monitoring sites in Kensington and Manchioneal, communities where livelihoods are highly dependent on coastal activities hence populations are vulnerable to Sargassum inundation. MGI are also preparing to deploy GPS trackers into sargassum mats at identified sites 5km and 10km off the coast of Portland, Jamaica. Drift observations obtained from trackers will provide crucial information on Sargassum movement during this exceptional summer season. To support this work, MGI have formed a partnership with the Alligator Head Foundation and Manchioneal fisherfolk in preparation for deployment.
This work is through a UK NERC funded collaboration (MONISARG) between Professor Robert Marsh and Professor Jadu Dash at the University of Southampton, Professor Hazel Oxenford at CERMES in UWI Cave Hill, and Dr Ava Maxam at MGI, UWI Mona (NERC grant ref: NE/W004798/1 https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=NE%2FW004798%2F1). For more information about the MONISARG project, please contact project lead Prof Bob Marsh R.Marsh@soton.ac.uk.