Giant blob of seaweed on its way to Florida’s beaches

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida is bracing for a massive seaweed blob that’s coming for its coast.

It’s drifting in the Atlantic Ocean, twice the size of the United States, and threatening to cover the beaches with its rotten-egg-like stench this summer.

The Gulf shore and Key Largo already see the red tides wash ashore. However, most of it is still hundreds of miles away from the U.S.

Dr. Quinton White, a professor of Marine Biology at Jacksonville University, joined The Morning Show to talk about what this means for Florida’s coast.

“The biggest problem with swimming around it is that because there are so many things in it, it may irritate your skin,” Dr. White said. “And so people may find that a little yucky. Or, potentially irritating.”

The type of seaweed is called sargassum. Dr. White said it’s vital to the ecosystem.

“It’s only when, like anything else, comes ashore and gets in massive quantities and starts decomposing. Then, you’re going to start to smell the odor,” he said.

He also said it’s essential for crabs, shrimp, and fish. It’s also where researchers believe young turtles go to grow from hatchlings to adults.

As of right now, it’s too early to know how much of the seaweed bloom will reach our coastline.

About the Authors:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.