Speaking to Lusa, researcher Rui Santos, from the Centre for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) at UAlg, indicated that the “Algas na Praia” platform “works as a survey that people can submit the sightings of algae found on the beaches”. “What we ask is that people indicate the presence of algae, recording them in photographs and submitting the data through the online platform, by filling out a small survey,” he said.
According to Rui Santos, the objective is to collect the greatest amount of data “on the species of algae and what conditions lead to these developments in large quantities, especially in summer”, along the beaches of the Algarve. “We intend to monitor the events of abnormal algae development, which often have impacts on tourism and the use of beaches, causing discomfort to people”, noted the official.
According to the researcher, the appearance of large outcrops of algae on the Algarve coast, "is an abnormal and increasingly frequent phenomenon, motivated by species that do not belong to the Portuguese flora". “These are invasive species that came from other places and were introduced on our coast by importing Japanese oysters and by ships, which move them in their hulls,” he recalled.
Rui Santos considers that some “of the 'alien' species have been here for many years, with important impacts in various parts of the coast, but without impacts on public health”, he stressed. However, he adds, the appearance of invasive algae is increasingly frequent, "in the face of the global world" in which we live today, "which makes them easily jump from one side to another, causing discomfort due to the large masses they cause and to the smell”.
“The agglomeration of algae causes discomfort because they deposit large masses [in the sea and sand] and they smell bad. This drives people away from the area and it is unpleasant to swim in this seaweed soup”, he acknowledged. The researcher stressed that the algae “do not have a direct impact on health”, nor “cause serious situations”.
The online survey now aims to gather documentation that can “identify the species that appear on the beaches of the Algarve, in an attempt to reduce the introduction of new species”. The data collected by holidaymakers can be communicated on the University of Algarve platform page at www.ualg.pt/algas-na-praia.