“This patch of ocean fixes about as much carbon as an equivalent patch of rainforest and then almost immediately turns much of it over”
Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Humans are increasingly dependent on algae, too, to suck up climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, by using a combination of satellite imagery and laboratory experiments, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae’s blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same, and this has important implications for our climate.
According to results reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 21, a single North Atlantic algal bloom, about 30 kilometers in radius, converted 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into organic carbon via a process known as carbon fixation. Two-thirds of that carbon turned over within a week as that bloom grew at a very rapid rate and then quickly met its demise. A closer look at those algae revealed high levels of specific viruses infecting their cells.
To put it in perspective, Assaf Vardi of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel says that this patch of ocean fixes about as much carbon as an equivalent patch of rainforest and then almost immediately turns much of it over.
“This is, of course, only one patch out of numerous co-occurring patches in other parts of the Atlantic Ocean,” adds Ilan Koren, also of the Weizmann Institute, not to mention those algal blooms that appear in other seasons and ecosystems. “While the impact that viruses have on the entire ecosystem was previously estimated to be very large, we provide the first approach to quantify their immense impact on open ocean blooms.”
The Latest on: Algal blooms
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The Latest on: Algal blooms
- Harmful algal blooms pose threat to dogs in Erie Countyon August 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm
Veterinarian Val Beasley has simple advice for people who take their dogs on shoreline walks. Be very careful about letting your pet ingest water from a lake, bay or pond. "I don't favor letting dogs ...
- Bay Village police: Columbia Road Beach closed due to algae bloom, toxinson August 23, 2019 at 4:12 pm
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Columbia Road Beach is closed due to an algae bloom and/or detection of algal toxins. According to the Bay Village Police Department, the beach is currently a public health risk.
- Algae bloom forces second CNY beach to close swim seasonon August 23, 2019 at 8:47 am
VERONA, NY - A second Central New York beach has been forced to close its swimming season early due to harmful algae bloom. Verona Beach State Park has prohibited swimming for the rest of the season, ...
- Columbia Road Beach closed because of harmful algal bloomon August 23, 2019 at 8:15 am
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio - Police have closed Columbia Road Beach, a popular spot for dog owners and open-water swimmers, because of a harmful algal bloom. People and pets should not enter the water because ...
- Bay Village Police: Columbia Road Beach closed due to toxic algal bloomson August 22, 2019 at 6:57 pm
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — The Bay Village Police Department has announced that the Columbia Road Beach has been closed until further notice due to the presence of algal blooms that are being classified as a ...
- Health board issues algae bloom warning at popular dog beach as a precautionon August 22, 2019 at 2:53 pm
A popular spot for dog owners to let their furry friends loose along the shoreline is shut down after the discovery of an algae bloom.
- Routine testing confirms algae bloom did not cause massive fish die-off at Pineviewon August 22, 2019 at 7:09 am
WEBER COUNTY — At the beginning of August, visitors to Pineview noticed dead fish littering the shores and floating in the water. Staff from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources examined the scene ...
- Algae blooms make water unsafe for dogson August 22, 2019 at 1:09 am
REGION — Anyone in the area thinking of taking their pet for a swim, may want to double check to make sure the water is safe first. Recently, there has been a bloom in blue-green algae, which can ...
- Potentially dangerous algae bloom detected in second Easthampton pondon August 21, 2019 at 12:27 pm
EASTHAMPTON — A potentially dangerous algae bloom, detected in Nashawannuck Pond late last week, has surfaced in Lower Mill Pond as well, officials said. The Health Department, in a post on its ...
- How to protect yourself and pets from toxic algae bloomson August 21, 2019 at 11:09 am
Green pond scum floating on a lake is not just unsightly. As animal lovers have learned the hard way, it can be deadly. In recent days, three pet dogs in North Carolina and another in Georgia died ...
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