Wide Sargasso seaweed: 5,500-mile algae belt keeps on growing

Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt now appears almost every year, forming largest record bloom It weighs 20m tonnes, stretches from west Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, and washes up on beaches creating a malodorous stench. Now scientists say a vast swathe of brown seaweed could be becoming an annual occurrence. Researchers say the explosion in sargassum seaweed first materialised in 2011. But new research shows it has appeared almost every year since then, forming the largest bloom of macroalgae ever recorded. Whats more, the seaweed band dubbed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt seems to be getting bigger. The scientists say the seaweed can be a boon for marine wildlife, providing habitat for creatures including fish and birds. But it also …

Toxic caterpillars spark health scare across Germany

People suffer rashes and breathing difficulties as warm weather brings infestation Marauding caterpillars with toxic hairs have brought parts of Germany to a standstill, leading to closures of swimming pools, restaurants, public parks and sections of the motorway. Oak processionary moth caterpillars, named after the nose-to-tail processions they form to travel between the oak trees they devour, have fine, long hairs with an irritating toxin that can cause blistering rashes, feverish dizzy spells and asthma attacks. For years, the caterpillar used to be a relatively rare sight in Germany, found only in isolated areas of woodland. But following a this years mild spring and warm, dry summer, the oak processionarys nests have been found in large numbers all over the …