With a view to exploring the possibility of a network of proximate researchers who are focussing on sargassum, members of the SARTRAC team have been meeting with other sargassum researchers in the UK. In January and February 2021, meetings were held with three teams.
Nottingham University (Prof Giles Foody and Dr Bathsheba de la Barreda Bautista) leads a project team monitoring sargassum in Mexico using satellite data. The team comprises government partners Centrogeo, and Conabio, as well as consultancies: Specto Natura and IPE Triple Line. Their project focusses on developing a near real-time service to monitor the arrival of pelagic sargassum and its accumulation on the shoreline, and is funded by the UK Space Agency. Twitter @SASAMS_EO
University of Greenwich (Prof Debbie Bartlett and Prof John Milledge) is looking for sustainable solutions to sargassum inundations in the Turks and Caicos islands. Partners include: the Turks and Caicos Islands’ Government, The School for Field Studies, Centre for Marine Resource Studies, South Caicos, and CIEEM UK Overseas Territories Special Interest Group. Their research aims to find out where sargassum is landing, when this is happening, and the impact on wildlife and the economy, with a view to identifying a commercial use to make beach clearance cost neutral and minimise environmental impact. The project is funded by the UK based Darwin Initiative.
Plymouth Marine Lab (Prof Mike Allen and Dr Amy Pilsbury) is looking to find commercial and sustainable opportunities from problematic macroalgal biomass in Mexico. The team are working to create a suite of solutions that can be deployed globally at different locations for different purposes. The project is a collaboration between: University of Exeter, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Bath, University of Baja California and Biorganix; it is supported by the Newton Fund.
We look forward to more interactions with these teams to share findings, data and solutions, to help address sargassum seaweed issues.