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SARGASSUM - The giant brown seaweed, having shown that it can spread from North to South Atlantic oceans, could spread to the Indian and Pacific oceans as a potentially invasive species. The proof of which (as a theory) is satellite pictures, and changing wind states. The spread witnessed here, could just as easily migrate between oceans, and thence to the bays and seas within those oceans.






We are concerned that with the oceans warming at a faster rate than predicted, and with the spill over of sargassum from the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic, to create an Atlantic Equatorial sargassum gyre, that it is almost inevitable, and we might expect to see a South Atlantic sargassum gyre in the not too distant future, in proportion to insolation, since photosynthesis is the propagator of plant life.


If that comes to pass, and with the Indian and Pacific oceans also warming at the same rate as the Atlantic, so generating faster currents and winds; spillage around the horns could become a distinct possibility. In which case, the South China Sea could be a prime contender for a micro sargassum gyre. Dependent on location current circulation conditions. Or at least may suffer a similar fate to the Caribbean Sea, where the islands therein suffer beaches strewn with mounds of sargassum, to ruin fishing, tourism and marine ecology.




The South China Sea is a marginal sea of the Western Pacific Ocean. It is bounded in the north by the shores of South China (hence the name), in the west by the Indochinese Peninsula, in the east by the islands of Taiwan and northwestern Philippines (mainly Luzon, Mindoro and Palawan), and in the south by Borneo, eastern Sumatra and the Bangka Belitung Islands, encompassing an area of around 3,500,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi). It communicates with the East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait, the Philippine Sea via the Luzon Strait, the Sulu Sea via the straits around Palawan (e.g. the Mindoro and Balabac Strait), the Strait of Malacca via the Strait of Singapore, and the Java Sea via the Karimata and Bangka Strait.


The Gulf of Thailand and the Gulf of Tonkin are also part of the South China Sea. The shallow waters south of the Riau Islands are also known as the Natuna Sea.

The South China Sea is a region of tremendous economic and geostrategic importance. One-third of the world's maritime shipping passes through it, carrying over US$3 trillion in trade each year. Huge oil and natural gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed. It also contains lucrative fisheries, which are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia.

The South China Sea Islands, collectively comprising several archipelago clusters of mostly small uninhabited islands, islets (cays and shoals), reefs/atolls and seamounts numbering in the hundreds, are subject to competing claims of sovereignty by several countries. These claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea. 


The South China Sea Islands consist of over 250 islands, atolls, cays, shoals, reefs and seamounts in the South China Sea. The islands are mostly low and small, and have few inhabitants. The islands and surrounding seas are subject to overlapping territorial claims by the countries bordering the South China Sea. 

The islands, shoals, and reefs are grouped into three archipelagos, plus the Zhongsha Islands (Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal). The South China Sea Islands as defined here consist of the sea's oceanic islands, and do not include the sea's continental shelf islands like Hainan and Natuna. Collectively, they have a total land surface area of less than 15 km2 at low tide. 

The area is a political hot potato, with China claiming rights, as are other countries bordering the Islands.


The South China Sea is an extremely significant body of water in a geopolitical sense. The sea has historically been an important trade route between China, southeast Asia, and going to India and the west. A number of shipwrecks of trading ships that lie on the ocean's floor attest to a thriving trade going back centuries. Nine historic trade ships carrying ceramics dating back to the 10th century until the 19th century were excavated under Swedish engineer Sten Sjöstrand.

it is the second most used sea lane in the world, while in terms of world annual merchant fleet tonnage, over 50% passes through the Strait of Malacca, the Sunda Strait, and the Lombok Strait. Over 1.6 million m³ (10 million barrels) of crude oil a day are shipped through the Strait of Malacca, where there are regular reports of piracy, but much less frequently than before the mid-20th century.


The region has proven oil reserves of around 1.2 km³ (7.7 billion barrels), with an estimate of 4.5 km³ (28 billion barrels) in total. Natural gas reserves are estimated to total around 7,500 km³ (266 trillion cubic feet). A 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised the total estimated oil reserves to 11 billion barrels. In 2014 China began to drill for oil in waters disputed with Vietnam. The area in question is known as Vanguard Bank and which Vietnam officials claim lies within their country's 200-mile exclusive economic zone. China, however, disputes this fact.

According to studies made by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines, this body of water holds one third of the entire world's marine biodiversity, thereby making it a very important area for the ecosystem. However the fish stocks in the area are depleted, and countries are using fishing bans as a means of asserting their sovereignty claims.

Indonesia's maritime waters have been breached by fishing fleets from Vietnam and the Philippines leading to said ships being seized and sunk by Indonesian authorities.

China announced in May 2017 a breakthrough for mining methane clathrates, when they extracted methane from hydrates in the South China Sea.








The South China Sea (SCS) encompasses a tropical region stretching from Singapore in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, across 22° of latitude bounded by the coastlines of Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia. On the west, the SCS is separated by a shallow sill from the Gulf of Thailand. The sea surface area is about 3.6 million km2, with an average depth of over 1,200 m and a maximum depth of 5,000 m. The SCS contains 7.04% of the world’s coral reefs and 0.93% of the world’s seamounts, with 0.31% of the sea surface being protected (Heileman, 2008).

The SCS is a highly productive (150–300 g C.m-2 yr-1) region based on global primary productivity estimates. It has a diverse range of habitats including mangroves, seagrass meadows, coral reefs and soft bottom communities, representing the world’s most diverse shallow marine ecosystem (Morton & Blackmore, 2001). The 50 m depth contour largely follows the coast, with the widest shelves occurring along the eastern edge of the large marine ecosystem. Rivers like the Pearl River in Guangdong, China, Red River in northern Vietnam, and Mekong River in southern Vietnam, drain into the SCS, which also harbours islands like Hainan in the northwest, Pahlawan in the southeast as well as numerous small islands, atolls and reefs, including the Spratleys (Morton & Blackmore, 2001). The SCS is influenced by the Southwest Monsoon in the summer and the Northeast Monsoon in the Winter. The monsoonal winds and resulting currents greatly influence the distribution of coastal and marine species.

The countries at the rim of the SCS are amongst the most densely populated in the world, where coastal and maritime communities depend greatly on marine resources for their livelihoods. The SCS forms part of a megadiversity region in Southeast Asia that extends into the Coral Triangle, where seaweed farming contributes significantly to the enhancement of livelihoods of the coastal and maritime populations.

The Coral Triangle produces more than 70% of the global carrageenan (Phang et al., 2010). The marine algae in this paper refer to the marine macroalgae, commonly called the seaweeds. They are simplistically categorised into green seaweeds (Chlorophyta), brown seaweeds (Ochrophyta) and red seaweeds (Rhodophyta).

The filamentous marine blue-green algae (Cyanophyta) are included in the list of marine algal flora of the SCS region, but the marine microalgae and phytoplankton are excluded from the list.

Although the South China Sea (SCS) is one of the most productive marine ecoregions in the world, there is no report of marine algae covering this wide area. We here provide the first checklist of marine algae from the SCS, bordered by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. A total of 1,442 species including subspecies and varieties in 96 families were compiled in this checklist; 119 species in 12 families for Cyanophyta, 305 species in 22 families for Chlorophyta, 258 species in 14 families for Ochrophyta and 730 species in 48 families for Rhodophyta. Marine algal flora, compared using the Sorensen’s Similarity Index, is very similar between Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. This preliminary checklist will provide a baseline for future taxonomic and biogeographical studies of marine algae in the region. Further international collaboration among phycologists will improve our knowledge of marine algae in the SCS.

This first checklist of the marine algae of South China Sea within the waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, may be considered a baseline for future efforts in understanding the affinities and bio-geographical distribution of the marine algal flora in the South China Sea and the Indo-West Pacific region. It is hoped that the flora of Taiwan and Southern China can be added in at a later stage. The documentation of the flora is important for conservation as well as management of the utilisation of this important resource which has potential for commercialization, especially in the production of new products like biopharmaceuticals and industrial materials.

8 authors, including: Siew-Moi Phang - University of Malaya; Hui Yin Yeong - University of Malaya; Edna T. Ganzon-Fortes - University of the Philippines; Anchana Prathep - Prince of Songkla University




The species-level taxonomy of the marine brown algal genus Sargassum is problematic. To resolve some of these systematic issues in the northern China seas, a molecular analysis of Sargassum species was carried out using ITS-2, cox3, and rbcL DNA sequences.

Phylogenetic analyses confirmed eight species, including: S. confusum, S. fusiforme, S. hemiphyllum var. chinense, S. horneri, S. muticum, S. siliquastrum, S. thunbergii, and S. vachellianum. The previously described S. shandon-gense and S. qingdaoense, endemic to the Shandong Peninsula, are shown to be synonymous with S. vachellianum. Seven species previously described from the East China Sea were not observed, and require further investigation.

The main goal of this study was to re-examine the diversity of Sargassum along the Chinese coast in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea based on molecular analysis. Among 130 species previously recorded in China, we confirmed the presence of at least eight Sargassum species in the northern China seas, with seven belonging to the Sargassum subgen. Bactrophycus and one belonging to the Sargassum subgen. Sargassum. Our phylogenetic data indicated that none of the Sargassum species are endemic to the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, instead they are also in the South China Sea and adjacent seas.

Several previously recorded species in the East China Sea were not collected in the present study, possibly due to historical misidentification, seasonality of thallus occurrence, or scope of this work. We collected samples every month in some localities, but some previously recorded species were never present. For example, Sargassum horneri has disappeared from the Nanji Islands, where a huge seaweed bed of S. horneri was well known for decades (Sun et al. 2008). In the same area, S. nigrifolioides Tseng et Lu had been described as a new species (Tseng & Lu 1985), but we failed to find it at the type locality. The frequent human activities in the area might be the major reason of the dramatic reduction of biomass and diversity of Sargassum (Sun et al. 2009). The historical sampling localities have been destroyed or become reclaimed land, and the low light transparency in the seawater inhibits the growth of seaweeds.

About 130 Sargassum species were previously recorded in China, of which 49 were described as new species, however, most species have never been confirmed using molecular phylogenetics. Consequently, further studies on the diversity of Sargassum from the South China Sea and adjacent seas using DNA datasets are required. Ecological monitoring has also been proposed as a necessary approach to document the ontogenic and phenotypic variability at the intra and inter-population levels (Mattio & Payri 2011, Mattio et al. 2015). Integrative investigations using morphological, ecological, and molecular analyses are essential to resolve Sargassum taxonomy.


9 authors, including: Zhongmin Sun; Dahai Gao - Shanghai Ocean University; Zi-Min Hu - Yantai University; 
Yuhang Li - Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Science

Article in Phytotaxa · August 2017











The North Atlantic Sargasso Sea is where sargassum originates and was contained for hundreds of years, until climate change and intensive farming. But should the unthinkable happen, and the invasive species take hold in the South Atlantic, from whence to spread it's biological advantage, one can imagine the dire consequences, perhaps mirroring that now ruining the Caribbean Sea. Make no mistake, the consequences of climate change and intensive, fertilizer based farming, could become a deadly world contagion, to make other epidemics seem insignificant, in terms of potential human tragedy.


An animal has a means to exhaust toxic waste, essential for a healthy lifestyle. The oceans have nowhere to dump the excrement we dump in it. They just get more polluted. Except for sargassum piling onto the shores, telling us that we have reached the limit.


So, what are the chances of it happening? Could there be a 'South China Sargasso Sea,' or belt, where the present welcoming waters are turned into a cesspit of foul smelling rotten seaweeds, as they release hydrogen sulphide gas to choke visitors to their shores.




That all depends on temperature rise of seawater, combined with nutrient supply, and circulating currents, including winds. All of which is measurable, for variable algorithmic computer simulations. As has been performed on the influx to the Caribbean Sea, via the equatorial Atlantic gyre, by scientists at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg's College of Marine Science, who used NASA satellite observations to discover and document the largest bloom of macroalgae. Others used Global Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model surface currents (HYCOM) (Chassignet et al., 2007) and National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis (NCEP), in their simulations.


But nobody has yet created a computer model of a SeaVax Calypso or Sargasso, used in various (fleet SeaNet formations) to determine if such a concept could control volume escalation, before they grow to be profusely irrepressible. Indeed such simulations may help develop such concepts in terms of capacity and operations, that they may, or may not, contain the crisis, preventing a worldwide state of emergency - by nipping it in the bud.




At this stage of the formulation of his theory, the innovator is considering the awful prospect, based on the demonstrable and devastating spread of sargassum from the North Atlantic to the Equatorial South Atlantic, but not yet migrating to the more general south, due presumably, to temperatures not yet being to the liking of the buoyant seaweed.


The three major oceans are all interconnected via currents and driving winds. The main barrier to migration at present, is the temperature and level of nutrients, that is lower where the seaweed mats could pass from one to another. But that is by no means a hard point, as the melting of the polar caps indicates. We are living in changeable times, where the unthinkable is taking place, as a pace faster than previously supposed.


In other words, the impossible is rapidly becoming possible. And there is no containment system at present, to prevent that from happening; no international coordination, or action plan. A recipe for disaster you may think!




The sargassum crisis seen in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico could be just the beginning of a worldwide plague, stemming from our inability to curb political insatiability for fossil fuels - to power failing economic strategies, based on growth, when we have already used up the planet twice over, in sustainable terms.


The answer to failed political policies is very often a jolly good war, (Russia Vs Ukraine). When all cock-ups get thrown to the wind in the media scrum, and a whitewash ensues, until the next band of post-war cutthroats is elected, each with their hands in the pockets of Lucifer's climate change deniers. That said, it would take a nuclear conflict to reduce earth's population significantly enough to brake global warming - but then the planet would be barren and unable to support human life. Hence, an unthinkable solution to all but the most desperate of homicidal kleptocrats: warmongers.


But, ignoring thermonuclear first strikes for now, even if we transition to renewables immediately, global warming will not reverse for 30-50 years at best, and that is with a fair political wind. Meaning that the conditions for sargassum to populate welcoming equatorial waters (rich in nutrients) around the globe, remains a distinct possibility. Such as the:



Arabian Sea

Atlantic - North & South Equatorial

Banda Ceram Molucca & Timor Seas

Bay of Bengal

Celebes Sea

Gulf of Guinea

Gulf of Thailand

Indian Ocean

Java Sea

Pacific Ocean - North & South, Equatorial Belt (Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama regions)

Philippine Sea

South China Sea



Seas and oceans in these latitudes could become inundated with macro algae, if the rafts of floating seaweed manage to navigate less hospitable barriers, such as colder regions. Which at the moment, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope appear to offer some protection from invasion.




This is a theory proposed by Nelson Kay (as a volunteer) in August of 2022, based on his work with the SeaVax team from 2016 - 2020. Though that exertion was mostly concerning micro and macro plastic recovery and river containment, the ocean engineering and logistical challenges posed by SeaVax are kindred concepts, and may be sympathetically adapted or even interchangeable to some degree. And may one day inspire others to devise a practical resolution.


Academics and scientific institutions inclined to test such thesis, or otherwise wishing to provide data or technological assistance, positive or negative, should please contact the Cleaner Ocean Foundation in the first instance. The aim being to prove or disprove the concept, to advance our knowledge in this little understood area of Oceanology/Oceanography. Students at all levels are most welcome, as are degree level students and post graduates looking to higher level qualifications, or simply to gain experience.


There are a million reasons for not doing something, and only one for taking up a challenge. Most people will use manifold negatives to sit back in their armchairs, and postulate. But, every now and again, someone is foolhardy enough to roll their sleeves up - and experiment - because they feel they must. Despite the enormity of the task. And that is how this website came about, in support of the SeaVax project in 2017.





Honduras, Caribean island with a tide of plastic, pictures by Caroline Power    



PLASTIC TIDE - These amazing pictures of a giant plastic tide were taken by Caroline Power. Please note how plastic and sargassum intertwine, creating a separation problem.










Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba (Netherlands)


British Virgin Islands

Caribbean Netherlands

Cayman Islands (UK)


Curaçao (Netherlands)


Dominican Republic (Hispaniola)


Guadeloupe (France) 
Haiti (Hispaniola)
Martinique (France) 
Puerto Rico (US) 


Saint Barthélemy

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia 

Saint Martin 

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sint Maarten (Netherlands)


Trinidad and Tobago

Turks and Caicos Islands
United States Virgin Islands 



















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