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Article

The Impact of Sargassum Inundations on the Turks and Caicos Islands

1
Central Avenue, Faculty of Engineering & Science, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Medway ME4 4TB, UK
2
Center for Marine Resource Studies, School for Field Studies, Cockburn Harbour TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Juan J. Vergara
Phycology 2021, 1(2), 83-104; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1020007
Received: 20 August 2021 / Revised: 21 October 2021 / Accepted: 28 October 2021 / Published: 2 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Sargassum Golden Tides, a Global Problem)
Since 2011, holopelagic Sargassum fluitans and natans have been arriving en masse to the wider Caribbean region and West Africa, impacting near-shore habitats and coastal communities. We examined the impacts of the Sargassum influx on tourism-related businesses through face-to-face interviews and focus groups and on near-shore seagrass beds through in-water surveys in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). Substantial accumulations of sargassum were found on the beaches of South Caicos and Middle Creek Cay in 2018 and 2019, including a Sargassum brown tide in 2018. A variety of different approaches to removing sargassum from the beaches were mentioned and a desire from local businesses as well as local authorities to find a sustainable, cost-effective solution to what is viewed by many as a serious problem. The brown tide and sargassum accumulating as a layer on the benthos inside the seagrass beds caused significant loss of Thalassia testudinum. Halodule wrightii, macroalgae and sand plains were found in the areas lost by T. testudinum. This finding suggests that, if a cost-effective end use for sargassum could be identified, harvesting material in inshore waters rather than when it has arrived on the beach would have dual benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: seagrass; Thallasia testudinum; brown tide; tourism; fisheries; tour operators; management; sargassum brown tide; beach seagrass; Thallasia testudinum; brown tide; tourism; fisheries; tour operators; management; sargassum brown tide; beach
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bartlett, D.; Elmer, F. The Impact of Sargassum Inundations on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Phycology 2021, 1, 83-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1020007

AMA Style

Bartlett D, Elmer F. The Impact of Sargassum Inundations on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Phycology. 2021; 1(2):83-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1020007

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bartlett, Debbie, and Franziska Elmer. 2021. "The Impact of Sargassum Inundations on the Turks and Caicos Islands" Phycology 1, no. 2: 83-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1020007

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