Seaweed Blob Will Miss Tampa, Research Shows
At this time on Monday, we were sure that a huge seaweed blob was gonna cover our beaches and make the Bay smell like the unwashed backside of a beagle for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, there is a new forecast that seems to spare us from that stanky fate. Researchers now say that the mass of brown seaweed, otherwise known as sargassam (giggity), will almost certainly avoid our beaches. It has impacted southwest Florida, however, depositing globs of smelly seaweed on the beaches throughout the region.
The floating seaweed bloom is a natural, yearly event, but the mass is much larger than it’s ever been, measuring about 5,000 miles across. That’s about twice as wide at the entire United States. With the current scurge of red tide in the Bay area, the sargassam would have been a terrible turn of fate for Tampa, especially during spring break, as hundreds of thousands of tourists pour into the region for a week of relaxation on our pristine beaches.
The mass of brown seaweed occurs naturally every year, but this year it’s on a whole new level. Radar images captured its size rcently, with best estimates saying it would span the U.S. twice if placed end-to-end. This size of this year’s gargantuan blob is being credited to a strong supply of nutrients that the seaweed needs to grow and thrive. Light and warm water also help the mass grow, and both have been plentiful this year. While the sargassam is normally a great environment for animals, it can also create issues if it gets too dense. Sargassam can choke the other marine life out of sun and nutrients if it grows to think. The effect on fish and coral could be terrible. But for now, we have been spared.
So, instead of smelly beaches, piled high with piles of rotting sea vegetation, we will have to deal with more manageable, sporadic outbreaks of red tide. Smaller amounts of sargassam are still expected to reach our shores and may be a nuisance, but its effects on us will be minimal. Source: WFLA.com
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