In the summer of 2014 on the beach in Galveston, the sargassum seaweed dominated the landscape.
“It was a nuisance, it stunk. It drove tourists away,” said Gil Rowe, a professor at Texas A&M University at Galveston.
The sargassum that showed up in Galveston has perplexed researchers ever since it left in 2014. Now, four years later, the sargassum mystery has brought scientists, a United Nations representative, and a special, French government attaché, all the way to Galveston, just to talk about the seaweed.
Tom Linton heads the Galveston research lab and was one of the organizers of the international meetup. He says this whole thing — it started with a simple question:
“Why did we in 2014 have sargassum on the Galveston beaches hip deep? In 2015 2016 2017, not a sprig of sargassum. Not enough for graduate students who had that is an integral part of the research to conduct their research,” Linton said. “So how do we get sargassum here?”