Marine biologists are concerned by the beautiful yet disturbing and potentially toxic blue glow in the Hong Kong seas. Eerie fluorescent blue patches of water glimmer off Hong Kong’s seashore; they look magnificent and may even attract tourists, but they are an indicator of harmful algal bloom. They are created by the algae, Noctiluca scintillans, nicknamed Sea Sparkle. It looks like algae and can act like algae. But it’s not quite. It is a single-celled organism that technically can function as both animal and plant. These type of blooms are triggered by farm pollution that can be devastating to marine life and local fisheries. Noctiluca is a type of single-cell life that eats plankton and is eaten by other species. The plankton and Noctiluca become more abundant when nitrogen and phosphorous from farm run-off increase. Unlike similar organisms, Noctiluca doesn’t directly produce chemicals that can attack the nervous system or parts of the body. Noctiluca’s role as both prey and predator can eventually magnify the accumulation of algae toxins in the food chain, according to oceanographer R. Eugene Turner at Louisiana State University.
This article is based on materials provided by: http://phys.org/news/2015-01-magnificent-blue-hong-kong-seas.html
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