Tracking Sargassum in the Caribbean: the deployment and validation of a low-cost surface drifter

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2023-04-26
Authors
Pixa, Chase
Manganini, Kevin
Michel, Anna P. M.
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10.26025/1912/66046
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Sargassum
Surface drifter
Low-cost
Caribbean
Puerto Rico
Abstract
Sargassum blooms have been causing significant ecological and economic damage to coastal regions in the Northern Equatorial Atlantic since 2011. To better understand the movement and effects of this macroalgae, there is a need to track its transport. In this study, a low-cost drifter was deployed, designed to entangle with Sargassum and aid in its tracking. The design was based on the results of twenty-seven drifter designs and five days of field trials. The tracking data was validated using gridded wind and current products, as well as high resolution satellite imagery. The successful entanglement and tracking with the Sargassum demonstrated in this study can provide in situ movement data to ground-truth models and supplement gaps in satellite imaging. The results can guide future studies and further our understanding of its movement in the great Atlantic Sargassum belt (GASB).
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 4.0 International