What is Algal Bloom?
Algal blooms result from increased biomass of algae (phytoplankton cells) in the marine environment due to increased growth or physical accumulation, leading to an outbreak and generally adverse ecosystem effects.
What causes Algal Blooms?
Algal blooms are short-lived phenomena that arise when the growth rates of one or more species of the tiny microscopic plants exceed their mortality rates. As a result, cells of these species aggregate in the water column until their growth is checked by resource depletion, generally a nutrient such as phosphorus, reactive nitrogen, or iron.
Are Algal Blooms Toxic?
Not all algal blooms are toxic. Algae form harmful algal blooms (HABs) when they either accumulate in large amounts that alone cause harm to the ecosystem or the composition of the algal assemblage shifts to species that produce toxins that disrupt the normal food chain or to species that can harm human consumers.
Can Algal Bloom Affect Marine Life?
HABs sometimes create toxins that are harmful to fish and other aquatic animals. After being consumed by small fish and shellfish, these toxins move up the food web and can impact other animals like sea lions, turtles, dolphins, birds, etc.