THE UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (UWI) will today put prevailing threats to Caribbean coastlines under the microscope, with a look at the connection between mangroves, microplastics and sargassum seaweed.
To do so, they are utilising ‘The Professor Speaks’ lecture series – coordinated by the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) – which will today be headlined by Dr Mona Webber, professor of marine biology and director of the Centre for Marine Sciences at the UWI.
Christian Abreu Hidalgo
“The connection between mangroves, microplastics and sargassum is our research in these areas which indicate and highlight the fact that our coastlines and oceans are in peril. Through the increase in solid waste (plastic) pollution, we are destroying our mangroves and producing microplastics, which more easily move throughout coastal and ocean systems and spread contamination at several levels,” Webber told The Gleaner yesterday, in a prelude to what is to be covered at the 2 p.m. virtual session
It has, she maintained, never been more important to take stock of these issues, given the reality of a changing climate that brings with it impacts such as sea level rise, increases in sea surface temperatures, and coastal erosion. These are impacts that could cause the loss of lives and livelihoods
“The addition of excess nutrients to the ocean (untreated sewage and agricultural run-off), which when combined with climate change triggers can cause issues like the excessive blooming of sargassum, [means that] there is urgent need to find solutions. Some of the issues like sargassum could be part of the solution,” explained Webber, who is also the James Moss-Solomon Sr chair in environmental management at the UWI
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