Navigation Links
Harmful algae taking advantage of global warming
Date:4/4/2008

CHAPEL HILL You know that green scum creeping across the surface of your local public water reservoir" Or maybe its choking out a favorite fishing spot or livestock watering hole. Its probably cyanobacteria blue-green algae and, according to a paper in the April 4 issue of the journal Science, it relishes the weather extremes that accompany global warming.

Hans Paerl, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences Professor and co-author of the Science paper, calls the algae the cockroach of lakes. Its everywhere and its hard to exterminate but when the sun comes up it doesnt scurry to a corner, its still there, and its growing, as thick as 3 feet in some areas.

The algae has been linked to digestive, neurological and skin diseases and fatal liver disease in humans. It costs municipal water systems many millions of dollars to treat in the United States alone. And though its more prevalent in developing countries, it grows on key bodies of water across the world, including Lake Victoria in Africa, the Baltic Sea, Lake Erie and bays of the Great Lakes, Floridas Lake Okeechobee and in the main reservoir for Raleigh, N.C.

This is a worldwide problem, said Paerl, Kenan Professor of marine and environmental sciences in UNCs College of Arts and Sciences.

Its long been known that nutrient runoff contributes to cyanobacterial growth. Now scientists can factor in temperature and global warming, said Paerl, who, with professor Jef Huisman from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, explains the new realization in Science paper.

As temperatures rise waters are more amenable to blooms, Paerl said.

The algae also thrive in wet, soggy ground in areas experiencing periodic floods, like the U.S. Midwest. And in a drought, like the Southeastern United States is experiencing now, other algae and aquatic organisms die off, cyanobacteria thrive, waiting to explode

Warmer weather has also created longer growing seasons, and its enabled cyanobacteria to grow in northern waters previously too cold for their survival. Species first found in southern Europe in the 1930s now form blooms in northern Germany, and a Florida species now grows in the Southeastern U.S. Others have appeared recently places as far north as Montana and throughout Canada.

Fish and other aquatic animals and plants stand little chance against cyanobacteria. The algae crowds the surface water, shading out plants fish food below. The fish generally avoid cyanobacteria, so theyre left without food. And when the algae die they sink to the bottom where their decomposition can lead to extensive depletion of oxygen.

These cyanobacteria blue-green algae were the first plants on earth to produce oxygen.

Its ironic, Paerl said. Without cyanobacteria, we wouldnt be here. Animal life needed the oxygen the algae produced. Now, however, it threatens the health and livelihood of people who depend on infested waters for drinking water or income from fishing and recreational use.

These algae that were first on the scene, Paerl predicts, will be the last to go ... right after the cockroaches.


'/>"/>

Contact: Clinton Colmenares
clinton_colmenares@unc.edu
919-843-1991
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Fish oil -- helpful or harmful?
2. Chemicals used as fire retardants could be harmful, UC-Riverside researchers say
3. Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins
4. Algae could one day be major hydrogen fuel source
5. Montana State University researcher finds renewed interest in turning algae into fuel
6. Green algae -- the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
7. Study involving more than 100 scientists provides new insights on green algae
8. Taking the fight against cancer to heart
9. Aging gracefully requires taking out the trash
10. Despite awareness of global warming Americans concerned more about local environment
11. Black carbon pollution emerges as major player in global warming
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... Ontario , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, ... management technology respectively, today announced the launch of a ... next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. NSO ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... JERUSALEM , March 15, 2016 ... Jerusalem , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, ... developer of remote sensing technology of various human biological ... funding, raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... technology, based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... excited to announce a strategic partnership with McGill University . The partnership is ... to the market in order to help patients in pain. With the new agreement, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 04, 2016 ... ... has leveraged recent innovations in biotechnology to help treat hormonal and stress related ... loss, Nutrafol® has captured the hearts of key opinion leaders in the medical ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... announced the addition of Dr. Nancy Gillett to its Board of Directors. Dr. ... she served as Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. A board-certified ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , ... May 03, 2016 , ... According to world ... for definitive prostate cancer treatment, patients traditionally had two main treatment options: surgery or ... would be made. , New technology has enabled doctors to administer higher doses ...
Breaking Biology Technology: