The largest algae bloom in history is of Sargassum, a stringy, brown seaweed that serves as food and refuge for marine life. The large bloom of Sargassum stretches over 600 miles along Floridian and Mexican beaches, and appears to be the new normal in affected areas. Though Sargassum is non- toxic, in large amounts it can smother corals, and when on beaches it releases a terrible rotten egg smell.
With hurricane Dorian approaching the Florida coast, scientists have been speculating as to the affect the hurricane may have on this large bloom. Though they are unsure of what will actually happen, they have come up with multiple theories of what can potentially happen.
One potential outcome is that major Sargassum features can be disturbed due to the intense weather. Despite the disturbances, though, scientists say that the Sargassum will be able to reform after the storm passes.
Another potential outcome is that the hurricane may bring more resources to the Sargassum, nourishing it and allowing it to grow even more.
Both of these speculations are based upon limited observation, but are very real possibilities. Scientists still have plenty to learn about the relationship between hurricanes and algae blooms.
- Erin F. Fox
Sources: 88.5 WMNF, BBC