There has been a bright blue sea outside Hong Kong in recent days. It looks nice, especially photographed with long exposure, but it also has a negative side, the news agency AP writes.
The light is due to phosphorescence created by the algae Noctiluca scintillans.
- Beautiful pictures. But it is extremely unfortunate that it's due to Noctiluca, Samantha Joye, an oceanographer at the University of Georgia, said.
She says it's an increased instance of Noctiluca in the world's oceans, and that it caused by emissions from phosphorus and nitrogen, from fertilizer used in agriculture. Large deposits can be a danger for the rest of the life in the ocean, says Joye.
Noctiluca eats plankton and is being eaten by other species. It is not toxic in itself, but in some cases it eats toxic algae, and thus become toxic. Oceanographer R. Eugene Turner of the University of Louisiana says to AP that large deposits of Noctilua may help to increase the concentration of toxins from algae in the ocean.
Earlier the same phenomenon caused some of Australia's most popular beaches to be closed, because of large "algae flakes."
- It could potentially be a risk to people's health. It may cause a rash and irritate the eyes, said a spokesperson for the Australian authorities when Bondi Beach was closed for a period in 2012.
Then it was due to resurgence of nutrient-rich water that had been pushed up from the depths.
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