Brown algae called Sargassum has recently been washing up in vast amounts on some Caribbean beaches, even causing Barbados to declare a national emergency.
Once beached the sea plant starts to stink as it releases hydrogen sulphide which smells like rotten eggs. Some Mexican beaches have even put up floating anti-Sargassum barriers to keep it away from the shore.
Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek of the UNAM Institute of Ocean Science and Limnology is studying the plant to assess its impact on the environment - and says it could be a serious ecological disaster. Meanwhile other researchers are finding innovative uses for it, even as a building material.