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Working papers

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Journal Articles

Policy Brief

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SARTRAC Scientific Webinar Series

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Project progress reports

Teaching Material for Schools


Journal Articles


Machado, C.B, Maddix, G-M, Francis, P., Thomas, S-L., Burton, J.A., Langer, S., Larson, T.R., Marsh, R., Webber, M., and Tonon, T. (2021). Pelagic Sargassum events in Jamaica: Provenance, morphotype abundance, and influence of sample processing on biochemical composition of the biomass. Science of the Total Environment, 817, 152761.(https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152761).

Marsh, R., Oxenford, H., Cox, S.A., Johnson, D.A., and Bellamy, J. (2022). Forecasting seasonal sargassum events across the tropical Atlantic: overview and challenges. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, [914501]. (doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.914501).

Skliris, N., Marsh, R., Appeaning Addo, K., Oxenford, H. (2022). Physical drivers of pelagic sargassum bloom interannual variability in the Central West Atlantic over 2010–2020. Ocean Dynamics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-022-01511-1

Trench, C., Thomas, S-L., Thorney, D., Maddix, G-M., Francis, P., Small, H., Machado, C.B., Webber, D., Tonon, T., and Webber, M. (2022). Application of stranded pelagic sargassum biomass as compost for seedling production in the context of mangrove restoration. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 10, 12 p., [932293]. (doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2022.932293 ).

Van Der Plank, S., Cox, S.A., Cumberbatch, J., Mahon, R., Thomas, B., Tompkins, E.L., and Corbett, J. (2022). Polycentric Governance, Coordination and Capacity: The Case of Sargassum Influxes in the Caribbean. Coastal Management50(4), 285-305. (https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2022.2078172).


Marsh, R., Appeaning Addo, K., Jayson-Quashigah, P.N., Oxenford, H.A., Maxam, A., Anderson, R., Skliris, N., Dash, J. and Tompkins, E., (2021) Seasonal predictions of holopelagic sargassum across the Tropical Atlantic accounting for uncertainty in drivers and processes: The SARTRAC ensemble forecast system. Frontiers in Marine Science8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.722524

Davis, D., Simister, R., Campbell, S., Marston, M., Bose, S., McQueen-Mason, S. J., Gomez, L., Gallimore, W., & Tonon, T. (2021). Biomass composition of the golden tide pelagic seaweeds Sargassum fluitans and S. natans (morphotypes I and VIII) to inform valorisation pathways. Science of The Total Environment, 762, 143134.


Fidai, Y. A., Dash, J., Tompkins, E., & Tonon, T. (2020). A systematic review of floating and beach landing records of Sargassum beyond the Sargasso SeaEnvironmental Research Communications2(12), [122001]. 


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Working Papers

Assessment of the SARTRAC method of rapid analysis of beached sargassum in Jamaica, November 2020
Anderson, R et. al. (2021)

Sargassum events remain a significant problem for coastal communities in the Latin American, Caribbean and African regions. The scale and complexity of coastlines in these regions, combined with the nature of the Sargassum inundations have made it especially difficult for coastal managers to effectively monitor Sargassum beaching events.

To assist with this problem, this working paper applies a rapid monitoring approach developed within the SARTRAC project to assess sargassum events. The approach described in section 2, combines field, anecdotal and technological measures. Together, these measures can support standardised Sargassum monitoring procedures. This working paper applies the Sargassum Data collection form (Anderson, 2021) that can be found in SARTRAC working paper 3.

Sargassum Data Collection Form
Anderson, R (2021)

A universal Sargassum data collection form can provide coastal managers with information on the size and nature of a sargassum event. Following Fidai et al (2020:9), within the SARTRAC project, a sargassum event is defined as “a continuous bloom of any Sargassum in open oceans, or, an aggregation of landed sargassum, with the potential to disrupt social, economic or ecosystem functioning, or to impact human health.” Having standard parameters measured across affected areas can improve comparison between events over time, and between sites. It can also assist in the identification of where sargassum events are repeatedly occurring, and the severity of impacts.

Management of Sargassum influxes in the Caribbean: national and regional governance of a transboundary marine species
Van der Plank, S (2020)

Since 2011, nations in the Caribbean and west Africa have experienced large influxes of the seaweed Sargassum arriving on the nearshore and coasts. These influx events often coincide with summer months, and affect fisheries, turtle nesting and beach activities including tourism. While Sargassum has been prevalent in these regions prior to 2011, as a response to the sudden and large increase in quantities experienced there has been a plethora of management approaches, conducted privately and by government bodies, and of regional conferences to address the “urgent threat” (‘Regional Agreement on Sargassum 2019’ 2019). Climate change is creating environmental phenomena that are not recognisable in the context of the past, of which Sargassum is one possible case (Wang et al. 2019; Johns et al. 2020). This article explores the response to Sargassum since 2011 as a case study of how states and regional institutions may need to develop dynamic interpretations of policy problems as to effectively adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

Comparison of IDL and Python programming languages for analysing satellite imagery of Sargassum
Fidai, Y. A (2021)

The aim of this working paper is to provide guidance to new remote sensing researchers who are investigating Sargassum by offering a comparison of two commonly used programming languages for interpreting satellite imagery – Interactive Data Language (IDL) and Python.

IDL is a programming language which is popular in image processing and in space science. ENVI image processing package is written in IDL which allows the user to exploit libraries associated with ENVI. However, it is not freely available. Python is a popular general-purpose programming language with a wide range of applications and is open source. Both are suitable options for detecting ocean surface Sargassum blooms in satellite imagery. This paper provides a comparative overview of the pros and cons of using each of these languages.

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SARTRAC Scientific Webinar Series

Movement of sargassum – Professor Robert Marsh

This presentation looks at the seasonal drift of sargassum after a major volcanic eruption in April 2021 in the Caribbean, explored with our new forecast system.

  • Citation: Marsh, R. 2021. Introducing our forecast system and reflection on 2021 season. Presentation given at the SARTRAC Scientific Webinar Series 1: Following Sargassum, Connecting Communities, 13/12/21, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, Barbados. Online seminar.

Biology of sargassum – Professor Hazel Oxenford

This presentation looks at the gaps in ecological knowledge of pelagic sargassum that need to be filled to improve the accuracy of sargassum influx forecasts.

  • Citation: Oxenford, H.A. 2021. Sargassum biology: what we do and don’t know of relevance to forecasting. Presentation given at the SARTRAC Scientific Sargassum Webinar Series 1: Following Sargassum, Connecting Communities, 13/12/2021. Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, Barbados. Online seminar.

Sargassum risk management in Jamaica – Dr Kerrine Senior

This presentation explores the Sargassum Risk Management Strategy in Jamaica and the Caribbean, which calls for all affected stakeholders (fishers, farmers, government, private sectors, etc) & provides co-ordinated management options for stranded sargassum.

  • Citation: Kerrine, S., et al. (2021). Risk Management Strategy for Sargassum Stranding in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Presentation given at the SARTRAC Scientific Webinar Series 2, 21/06/22. Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, Barbados. Online seminar.

Monitoring sargassum and the environment – MSc Ajanni Bissick

This (video) presentation looks into environmental monitoring using open-source remote sensing software and how to apply this to the monitoring of sargassum.

  • Citation: Bissick, A. 2022. Making environmental monitoring easy – open source approach. Presentation given at the SARTRAC Scientific Webinar Series 2, 21/06/2022, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, Barbados. Online seminar.

Biochemical composition of sargassum biomass – Dr Thierry Tonon

This presentation describes the composition analysis of pelagic sargassum morphotypes in Jamaica in 2019 and explores the biochemical composition of sargassum biomass and the effects of processing and storage on potential products.

  • Citation: Tonon, T. 2022. Biochemical composition of pelagic sargassum biomass, and effects of processing and storage on potential products. Presentation given at the SARTRAC Scientific Webinar Series 4: Pelagic Sargassum Science and Innovation for Entrepreneurship, 18/07/2022. Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, Barbados. Online seminar.

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Teaching Material for Schools

Resources on the biology of pelagic sargassum developed for school children (years 6-9).

Handout booklet English, Español, Français, Português

PosterEnglish, Español, Français, Português

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