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Sargasso Sea

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1357147.  Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:47 pm Reply with quote

The Sargasso Sea is a body of water located in the north-west Atlantic Ocean which, unlike all other seas in the world, has no land border. Instead this area of water is bounded by the four ocean currents that make up the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre (the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Current, the Canary Current, and the North Atlantic Equatorial Current).

It derives its name from the distinctive and free-floating seaweed, sargassum, which is prevalent in these waters. It's also unique in that it hosts a species of sargassum that are 'holopelagi' which means the algae can not only float on the ocean surface, but also reproduce vegetatively on the sea itself. (This is in contrast to other seaweeds which reproduce on the ocean floor).

Due to its unique position between the four currents, the sea has accumulated a large volume of plastic in recent decades forming what has been unfortunately named the North Atlantic Garbage Patch. This has led to some nations moving to try to protect the area which is particularly pertinent given it's value to the marine environment.

For example, the 'sargassum' provides refuge for a plethora of marine species including loggerhead sea turtles, who use the accumulation of floating sargassum as a nursery for hatchlings and certain species of endangered eels, who use the sea as a spawning site. A number of migratory species, including humpback whales, also pass through the sea each year.



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