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

her 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.


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

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