What nutrient sources support anomalous growth and the recent sargassum mass stranding on Caribbean beaches? A review

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Since 2011, tropical beaches from Africa to Brazil, Central America, and the Caribbean have been inundated by tons of sargassum seaweed from a new equatorial source of pelagic sargassum in the Atlantic. In recent years the extraordinary accumulations of sargassum make this a nuisance algal bloom for tropical coasts. In 2018 satellite data indicated floating mats of sargassum that extended throughout the Caribbean to the northeast coast of Brazil with the highest percent coverage over the water yet recorded. A literature review suggests that Atlantic equatorial recirculation of seaweed mats combined with nutrients from several possible sources may be stimulating the growth and accumulations of sargassum. In the western equatorial recirculation area, new nutrient sources may include Amazon River floods and hurricanes; in the eastern equatorial recirculation area, nutrient sources that could sustain the sargassum blooms include coastal upwelling and Congo River freshwater and nutrients.

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Marine Pollution Bulletin