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Research project

SARCAP: sargassum capacity strengthening in Ghana

Project overview

SARCAP builds capacity within West African communities and researchers to monitor, manage and use sargassum to contribute to the circular economy. Sargassum is a brown seaweed (macroalgae) that has proliferated in the tropical Atlantic since 2011. Vast rafts of holopelagic sargassum - some the size of 200
adjoining football pitches - have seasonally washed ashore and decomposed on beaches requiring extensive clearing or management. The seaweed causes social, environmental and economic damage in all affected areas (from Mexico to Ghana), but little is known about sargassum in coastal W. Africa, e.g. the frequency or location of events, the biology of the sargassum, the impacts, and potential uses.
Our project will create and mobilise a cohort of sargassum champions in W. Africa to address this new normal. The champions will train trainers across W. Africa to monitor the distribution of sargassum, identify species, provide basic knowledge of seaweed biology, and translate scientific data into information to enable value-extraction from Sargassum. With the new knowledge entrepreneurs and researchers can identify how to unlock the potential of sargassum for innovative pharmaceutical applications and human health.
SARCAP will develop online training resources and collect data on sargassum.


Lead researcher

Professor Emma Tompkins

Prof of Geog, Environment & Development

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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