What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Red Tide”? Well,I found an article that refers to the rapid reproduction of algae a.k.a. “red tide”. Algae can color large bodies of water red or green (the color depends on the species of algae). Recently in Australia, many beaches closed due to the bloody red water. So how dangerous are algae blooms? Some species of algae cause certain diseases or poisonings.
So can red tides hurt humans? It depends on the species that’s blooming, said Gilly. Blooms of certain dinoflagellates are associated with saxitoxin, a shellfish toxin that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in people. “If it’s in a harbor or contained bay, it’s probably a serious matter,” he said.
Algae not only hurts humans, algae blooms can harm the environment and all living in it severely:
Large red tides can be harmful to fish, said Lauren Freeman, a Ph.D. candidate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. “As the algae die and sink in the shallow coastal water, they decompose and oxygen is taken from the water column. This can lead to temporary low oxygen zones,” she added. These zones can kill marine animals if the oxygen depletion is severe enough.
The low oxygen zones are also known as dead zones. These dead zones can form anywhere the levels of algae increase.
Once I read through the article, the little explanation of the cause of algae blooms inspired me to continue searching. I found another article that describes the reason of more recent algae blooms:
Such massive blooms require warm ocean temperatures and waters rich in the elements phosphorus and nitrogen, which are found in fertilizers and can be carried to the coasts by water runoff. While the algae isn’t toxic, big blooms can create oxygen-poor “dead zones” in the water and leave an unpleasant odor on beaches.
The ocean’s temperature gradually increases due to human carbon emissions. With these warmer waters, not only are algae blooms more frequent, but species of marine bacteria can invade and harm the species originally living in the ecosystem. Fertilizers give plants extra nutrients so that they can grow faster and bigger. The runoff of nutrients in fertilizer feeds bacteria in the ocean which can cause the algae to thrive.Thriving algae can then take over ecosystems. Now, algae may not interest you, but we, not actively trying to stop global warming or at least control algae bloom, just continue the unnecessary damage.