The wonders of the last sea

The Sargasso Sea is an amazing portion of the Atlantic Ocean with peculiar characteristics

by Lorenzo Ciotti
The wonders of the last sea
© Wikimedia commons

The Sargasso Sea is a portion of the Atlantic Ocean between the archipelagos of the Greater Antilles to the west, the Azores to the east and Bermuda to the north, and is so called due to the presence of the algae of the same name.

It is a very particular sea with singular peculiarities, as its borders are not delimited by continental masses, but by the presence of oceanic currents. The Sargasso Sea is in fact bounded to the west by the Gulf Stream, to the north by the North Atlantic Current, to the east by the Canary Current and to the south by the North Equatorial Current.

The waters of the Sargasso Sea are distinguished by their intense blue color and exceptional clarity, with underwater visibility up to 61 m and, furthermore, due to the circle of currents that surround it, the sea waters are often calm.

The Sargasso Sea also has another peculiarity: the migration, in the autumn period, of European and American eels, close to reproduction. The Sargasso Sea is home to algae of the genus Sargassum, floating en masse on the surface, which generally pose no threat to navigation.

In the early 2000s, the Sargasso Sea was sampled as part of the Global Ocean Sampling survey, to assess its diversity of microbial life through metagenomics. Contrary to previous theories, the findings indicated that the area is home to a wide variety of prokaryotic life. Although commonly called seaweed, Sargassum is a type of macroalgae. Like all algae, you produce oxygen.

The wonders of the last sea
The wonders of the last sea© Wikimedia commons

...But pollutions put Sargasso in troubles. what is happening

Due to surface currents, however, the Sargasso accumulates a high concentration of non-biodegradable plastic waste, containing within itself the enormous waste expanse of the North Atlantic.

Several nations and non-governmental organizations have come together to protect the Sargasso Sea and among them is the Sargasso Sea Commission, established on March 11, 2014 by the governments of the Azores, Bermuda, Monaco, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Plastic-consuming bacteria have been found in the plastic-polluted waters of the Sargasso Sea, but however, it is not known whether these bacteria ultimately clean up the poisons or simply spread them elsewhere in the marine microbial ecosystem.