Sydney Beaches Turn Blood Red From Algae

A swimmer stops short of a red algae bloom at Sydney’s Clovelly Beach on November 27, 2012, which closed some beaches for swimming including Bondi Beach for a period of time. While the red algae, known as Noctiluca scintillans or sea sparkle, has no toxic effects, people are still advised to avoid swimming in areas with discoloured water because the algae, which can be high in ammonia, can cause skin irritation. (William West/AFP Photo) Continue reading »

Lake Erie Algae Bloom Regarded as Worst in Decades

A massive algae bloom on the waters of Lake Erie in the U.S. is believed to pose a significant threat to aquatic life forms in the lake. The algae, which is toxic, is sucking the oxygen out of the water. According to reports, this is the worst bloom since the early 1960s. Scientists have also revealed that the bloom is caused, primarily, by the phosphorous from agricultural waste that is washed into rivers.

According to NASA Earth Observatory, such blooms were common in the lake’s shallow western basin in the 1950s and 60s. Phosphorus from farms, sewage, and industry fertilized the waters so that huge algae blooms developed year after year.

However, the condition improved in the 1970s when regulations were imposed on agricultural and sewage treatment procedures to limit the amount of phosphorus released. However, this year, a giant bloom has spread across the western basin once again. The particular reasons for the bloom are complex but may be related to a rainy spring and invasive mussels. Continue reading »