Brown Tides: Assessing the Past, Present, & Future State of Sargassum in Aruba Through a Mixed Methods Approach


In the last decade, Caribbean shores have been inundated with a floating seaweed known as Sargassum. In large amounts, Sargassum threatens biodiversity by suffocating nearshore ecosystems and decreases tourism levels due to its nauseating smell, putting small island environments and economies at risk. With little to no research conducted on the monitoring and cleanup opportunities of Sargassum in Aruba, I aimed to fill that gap with this thesis by identifying susceptible influx areas and potential impacts. In collecting both quantitative data using geographic information systems (GIS) and Sargassum specific monitoring software, as well as qualitative data through interviews, my research has explored the potential social, economic, and environmental consequences or opportunities that Aruba may face. I used this data to further visualize the spatial distribution and impacts of Sargassum such that my research findings could be applied within the larger Caribbean context

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