Experts relate the Amazon and the Sargasso of the Caribbean Sea

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Experts relate the Amazon and the Sargasso of the Caribbean Sea
Tue August 27, 2019

Agricultural and forestry activities in the Amazon would be one of the factors that cause excessive sargassum in Caribbean beaches


At a time when fires in the Amazon are on the front pages of all media, little imagine that this catastrophe can be closely related to the sargassum that ruins the Caribbean coast.

“The main problem is the Amazon River. The second, global warming. The hotter the water, the more it reproduces, ”says Steve Leatherman, an environmental expert at the Florida International University (FIU).
The truth that towards 2011 increased agriculture in the Brazilian region of the Amazon River. This resulted in a greater use of fertilizers, because, to sow more, growers who deforest the forest obtain in return a very poor soil of red mud.
Scientists led by oceanographer Chuanmin Hu (who studied Sargassum using satellite technology since 2006) used NASA satellite observations to document the magnitude of the problem. With computer simulations they confirmed that this brown algae macro belt is formed in response to ocean currents.
Eight years ago, most of the floating sargassum was mainly in various areas around the Gulf of Mexico and in the Sargasso Sea, which is located on the western edge of the central Atlantic Ocean.
A decade ago, chlorophyll levels increased in the plume of the Amazon River, the part of the Atlantic Ocean that receives tributary outlets. In addition, the waters between Africa and Brazil are in a warmer region that has favored blooms with a faster development that generates a greater amount of biomass.
In the open sea this type of algae contributes to the health of the ocean by providing habitat for turtles, crabs, fish and other plants. It also produces oxygen through photosynthesis, but these algae become a problem when they approach the coasts, as they can displace marine species and limit light and nutrients to ecosystems indispensable for these sites, such as so-called seagrasses.
Van Tussenbroek, a researcher in Puerto Morelos of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology (ICMyL) of the UNAM, and who directs the Laboratory of Marine Pastures of this academic unit, also became one of the main students of the problem triggered by the sargasso.
The researcher recognizes Chuanmin Hu's study as a document of great precision and although it is clear that the waste discharged in the Amazon has contributed to increase the problem, she points out that this place cannot be blamed, when at the regional level The waste discharges that are made daily on our coasts also contribute strongly.

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