The North Atlantic Gyre

Figure by Rebecca Senft

Figure by Rebecca Senft

The Sargasso Sea, home of the North Atlantic Gyre, is the world’s only sea without shores. Hidden deep within the Atlantic Ocean, the Sargasso is far from any coastline. Its borders are delineated by its own unique ecosystem, which has historically been fed by the currents of the North Atlantic Gyre. Unfortunately, due to rampant plastic pollution around the world, we stand to lose the Sargasso and its critical ecosystem services forever.

The Sargasso is named for its collection of Sargassum seaweed — a unique marine plant that has adapted to spend its entire lifecycle without attaching to anything. The extensive and intricate mats of seaweed provide habitat for a variety of organisms that are found only in this region including multiple species of fish, snails and crabs that are specially adapted to blend in with the sargassum. The Sargasso Sea also serves as crucial spawning grounds for eels and marlin, a nursery for juvenile sea turtles, and as feeding/hunting grounds for birds and pelagic fish.

The Atlantic Gyre is the easiest of all 5 gyres to enter, and its unique Sargasm seaweed ecosytem acts as a net for the plastic, making it an ideal place to experience the problem deep in the Ocean.

We will be both circumnavigating Bermuda and navigating northeast towards the center of the Gyre.