Volume 71

A Network to Develop a Taxonomic, Monitoring, and Citizen’s Participation Program for Sargassum Landings in Florida, Mexico, Barbados, and Brazil

Ligia Collado-Vides;Brigitta Van Tussenbroek;Marta Garcia;Rosa Rodríguez-Martínez;Valéria Cassano;Mariana Cabral Oliveira;Mutue Toyota-Fujii;Hazel Oxenford;Stacy Krueger-Hadfield
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 319-324

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


The relatively recent mass landings of Sargasssum along the Caribbean, Brazilian, and African coasts, starting in 2011, are now not only an ecological threat, but also a threat to tourism, health, and fisheries. The problem of Sargassum landings increased in 2013 - 2015, and now, in 2018 we are witnessing the worst impacts to date. These landings are challenging scientists, coastal resource managers, and administrators at local, national, and regional levels as a new “normal” that urgently needs addressing. To improve outcomes, we need collaborative international coordinated efforts across the region. We are proposing a network of researchers that will: i) Work on the development of protocols to involve citizens in a standardized monitoring of their local sites, and ii) collect samples for resolution of taxonomic identity (through detailed morphological and molecular approaches) that will allow us to better understand the origins of the different spatial and temporal landings of Sargassum, and how future changes in climate and oceanographic conditions might influence future landings. By involving citizens and an international network of researchers, we will be able to obtain region-wide data that will become publically accessible to add value to other research efforts and initiatives. The establishment of a network should also increase leverage to attract funds from different countries and sources to support further research and solutions to this difficult probl

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