Green blobs and thick swampy smells, algae has been overpopulation our lakes and ocean coasts since the early 1960’s. In the 60’s huge algae blooms sprung up in Lake Erie so violently something had to be done (Wines, 2013). Millions of pounds of unregulated sewage were being dumped into the lake causing giant pools of algae and fish populations almost being eliminated. Since then blooms have been cut off and with regulations and laws, but recently their back (Wines, 2013).
Naturally in the world, nitrogen and phosphorus is found in lakes and ocean coasts. Algae, a microscopic organism, will feed off of the phosphorus and nitrogen and will multiply really fast (Hoyle, 2005). Commonly known as ‘Red Tides’ (Bruckner, 2012) when seen in large masses in lakes or on coasts, a single celled organism called Pfeisteria will glow red or green and feel slimy to the touch (Callahan, 2000). Large masses will multiply even faster during heavy rainstorm as nutrients and waste from leaky septic tanks and farms populate nearby rivers (Wines, 2013).
Too much algae will die and sink to the bottom of lakes and tiny bacteria’s will feed off the algae but also deplete the oxygen levels in bodies of water (Bruckner, 2012). Depleting oxygen levels is very harmful to species living in the water and fish population will decrease cause vast and horrible changes in the ecosystem (Bruckner, 2012). The fish market will also plummet due to the lack of fish and corruption will begin that way (Wines, 2013). A form of algae called ‘Blue-Green Algae’ and many others are very harmful to the human body and benthic animal life. It will attack the liver and cause irritating skin rash (Hoyle, 2005).
Where does it come from?
Eutrophication (Hoyle, 2005), a process in which bodies of water changes with time as deposits of nutrients and sediments from surrounding areas accumulate, ties directly in with overpopulation of algal blooms (Bruckner, 2012). Excess amounts of phosphorus from farms and septic tanks up river will cause huge amounts of blooms especially during rainstorms (Wines, 2013). The farmers use pellets containing a form of phosphorus that’s designed to be used by plants extremely fast were as normal phosphorus takes time (Callahan, 2000). When the rain washes the pellets away to the rivers then into bodies of water, the algae can use it much faster than normal phosphorus so the blooms increase much faster (Callahan, 2000). Oxygen depletion is caused from the outbreaks leading into the dead zone. A dead zone is were algae dies and sinks to the bottom of a body of water and sits there while being eaten by bacteria (Bruckner, 2012). The bacteria, like mentioned before, corrupt the oxygen levels and that is where the large amounts of dead fish come from. Less oxygen, less fish and aquatic insects (Bruckner, 2012).
Examples from Different Places
(Gulf of Mexico) On the edge of the Mississippi River is home of millions of farmers who use the river to fill their needs and water their crops. Now for their crops they use a fertilizer that contains large amounts of phosphorus. During the recent increase in rainfalls all the extra phosphorus not used by the plants leaks out into the Mississippi and at the estuary on the Gulf of Mexico a huge dead zone that spread along the bottom of the coast for miles. It caused fish to die off as they left their habitat in search of oxygen. Tourism dropped as the waters were not safe to swim in and fisherman lost money as fish prices skyrocketed (Bruckner, 2012).
(Coast from Delaware to Alabama) The strangest marine pathogen a dinoflagellate (single celled) called Pfiesteria was given the names from the press as “The Blob”, or “The Cell from Hell”. Red Tides cluttered the coastal estuaries and killed tens of millions of fish. Coastal development caused the nutrient runoff and killed sixty million dollars in tourism and fishing. This type…