Tech & Science

Glowing Blue Algae Are Spread Around the Coast of Tasmania

The northwestern coast of Tasmania was embellished with glowing blue algae on Monday night

The tourists and local dwellers who, on Monday night, were roaming the northwestern coast of Tasmania witnessed a unique event which, as beautiful as it looked to their eyes, it showed the tremendous effects that climate change and global warming had on the environment. The shores started glowing blue as bioluminescent algae reached the coast.

Tourists were hypnotized by the glow

Everybody was stunned by the magnificent view of the bright blue shimmers of the algae. Many beachgoers captured the phenomenon in amazing photographs which were spread all over social media. For example, one of the witnesses was Leanne Marshall, a photographer based in Tasmania.

On Monday night, she photographed the blue waves near the Rocky Cape National Park. Many other tourists did not miss the chance to snap this hypnotizing view that flooded the northwestern coast of the Australian island.

Why does this event occur?

The bioluminescence event is caused by the unicellular algae, or plant plankton, called Noctiluca scintillans. The algae are also known as sea sparkle, and they usually start glowing when they are disturbed.

During the day, the event is also known as “red tide”. If they gather in large numbers close to the shore, the water turns to deep red, orange, or brown shades. However, during the night, the algae change to a bright blue color and start glowing if disturbed by currents or waves.

Gustaaf Hallegraeff is an aquatic botany professor at the University of Tasmania. He provided a possible explanation for this unique phenomenon. He suggested that this might be a defense mechanism. The algae resort to a flashing behavior to keep predators away. If they see plankton which look so threatening, they would keep at a distance and avoid eating it.

Fish usually stay away from such areas, but only because the glowing scares them. The professors at the University of Tasmania explain that the algae contain a high quantity of ammonia which irritates fish. However, there are no known toxic effects of the shimmering plankton.

Glowing algae, the product of climate change

Hallegraeff explained that the sea sparkle was observed for the first time in the area in the 1860s. Since then, it moved permanently near Tasmania. Researchers have gathered some evidence that the algae started glowing because of global warming. This makes perfect sense, since the phenomenon became more prominent since 2000.

The bioluminescent algae might look beautiful and astonishing, but they are actually a product of climate change. They appeared at the cost of damage on the environment, and they are a sign that irreversible changes can affect our planet.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The post Glowing Blue Algae Are Spread Around the Coast of Tasmania appeared first on Trinity News Daily.

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