Nutrients and toxic blooms - Part 2
The sentinels of our oceans have been effected by toxic algae blooms enormously - Nutrients and toxic blooms introduction. Marine mammals act as our signals as to what is occurring in our oceans. The fact that they are dying rapidly is not a good sign. Many marine mammals have been dying rapidly due to toxic algae that poison their brains and leads to death that travels up through the food chain and eventually to us humans (Weiss). Toxic algae blooms occur for a multitude of reasons. A major cause is nutrient pollution, the result of poor farming practices that include the use of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the use of household cleaning products.
The materials seep through the soil, into the groundwater, and ends up in our oceans and bodies of water due to runoff. Runoff from towns and cities near waterways pick up the chemicals in the ground and lead them to our bodies of water, causing toxic algae blooms to flourish. Horticulturist, Alex Berth explains, “… When it rains a lot, all your fertilizers that you put down on your lawns, on plants, will leach in the ground water or will leach into surrounding bodies of water which will bring up nitrogen and phosphorous levels which algae blooms love and fish and aquatic organisms can’t take,” (“Contrast
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Fertilizer 1) Toxic algae blooms can occur during the aftermath of certain extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts. John Metcalf explains the effects of such events, “… More severe storms, which wash vast amounts of phosphorous into the lake to feed the microorganisms”. These events pick up large amounts of harmful chemicals from sewers, as well as chemicals from plants in farms and then deposit them in bodies of water. With the addition of those chemicals in the water, algae is ‘overfed’ with nutrients and toxic algae blooms begin.
Another major cause is a drastic increase in temperature and sunlight. In the summer, temperatures tend to rise and more sunlight is directed in our way, which result in an increase in toxic algae blooms. The summer Of 2014 is expected to be filled with toxic algae blooms, the highest prediction since the 1 sass. Forecasters are now predicting that billowing blooms of toxic algae will overrun Erie this summer, making 2014 the latest in a line of years that have seen the lake looking like a big, slimy putting green (Metcalf). Toxic algae blooms have an immense effect on animals. Toxic] algal bloom biotin’s poison [marine mammals such as] dolphins and manatees causing singular and mass stranding and sometimes large epiglottis. Harmful algal bloom biotin’s impact [marine mammals] via ingestion and/or inhalation of toxins similar to humans” (Boasts 136). Seizures and fist-sized tumors are common effects of toxic algae blooms. The algae clogs fish gills and scrambles the brain, causing animals to wash ashore, as well. Once young animals show signs of illness due to the toxic algae, parents show no interest in them due to their behavioral instincts.
Toxic algae blooms also have a major affect on humans. Humans can get citrate from it. “Citrate tides fish poisoning is another disease associated with toxins produced by marine algae. The toxin responsible, called citation, accumulates through the food web, and very high levels may exist in reef fish, particularly (but not only) large carnivorous reef fish” (Center for Disease Control). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains the harmful effects of toxic algae blooms on humans, “[Toxic] algal bloom events can be very bad for us.
People who eat shellfish from waters experiencing toxic [algal] blooms can become very ill and can even die” (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2). Other various effects on humans include, rashes, gastrointestinal distress, liver illness, respiratory problems, neurological impairment, and more. Toxic algae blooms also effect the economy in a vast variety of ways and forms from tourism to seafood industries: Coastal HUB events have been estimated to have economic impacts In the United States of at least $82 million/year with the majority of impacts in the public health and commercial fisheries sectors.
This estimate is noncreative due, in part, to a lack of information about individual events, unqualified economic effects of environmental impacts, and a lack of documentation of coloratura impacts (such as loss of cultural practices and values, increased reliance on social services, decreased recreational opportunities, and shifts in livelihoods). Moreover, unreported illnesses, reductions in property values, lost seafood sales due to unfounded consumer fears (the “halo effect”), and lost revenue from some untapped fisheries are just a few examples of economic effects not accounted for in this estimate.
Impacts of a single event on individual economic sectors (e. G. , commercial fisheries) can be large, highlighting the likelihood that this estimate is very conservative. (National Centers for Costal Ocean Science 1) The tourism industry is effected by toxic algae blooms through the lack fishing and boating activities, water sports, as well as the closing Of beaches. Commercial fishing and shellfish industries are affected due to the contamination of the fish and shellfish, making them unable to sell them to the public.
The real estate industry suffers losses due to waterfront property alee decline because of the unpleasant sight and smell of algae blooms. Toxic algae blooms have a tremendous effect on the environment, as well. They block out sunlight and prevent photosynthesis of aquatic plants. Algae blooms don’t necessarily have to be toxic to harm the environment. EPA explains, “Even if algal blooms are not toxic, they can hurt aquatic life by blocking out sunlight and clogging fish gills” (Environmental Protection Agency).
Toxic algae blooms can also create ‘dead zones’, areas with little to no oxygen where most life cannot survive and die, hence the name ‘dead one’. EPA describes that, “Nutrient pollution can create dead zones, areas in water with little or no oxygen where aquatic life cannot survive. Also known as hypoxia, these areas are caused by algal blooms consuming oxygen as they die and decompose. Aquatic animals must leave the affected area or die. Young fish and seafloor dwellers like crabs and clams are most likely to die in hypoxia areas”. Environmental Protection Agency). Another effect is acid rain, which is cause by numerous means of pollution and the evaporation of bodies of Water contaminated with toxic algae blooms. Acid rain falls to the Earth and contaminates our bodies of water, forests, and grasslands. Toxic algae blooms also lead to the drainage of bodies of water. Once a body of water is affected and becomes a ‘dead zone’ drainage of the water is sometimes necessary. Although the effects of toxic algae blooms are devastating, there are countless ways of preventing it.
The restoration of natural systems in one way in order to retain nutrients from seeping into bodies of water and also increase the process of degrading nitrogenous compounds and releasing nitrogen. By doing so, additional nutrients won’t flow into waterways, which will in turn prevent further overgrowth of algae. The biggest way of preventing toxic algae blooms is by cutting down on the use Of pollutants from poor farming practices, household cleaning products, burning of fossil fuels, etc.
That will prevent further runoff of chemicals that contain extra nutrients into bodies of water. Morgan B. Stiffen explains toxic algae blooms in lake Erie: Toxic [algae] blooms dominated by the counterclaim Microcosmic reassuring have most recently been one of primary ecological concerns or Lake [Erie]. These toxic blooms impact the availability of potable water, as well as public health and revenues from the tourism and fishery industries. The socioeconomic effects of these blooms have spurred research efforts to pinpoint factors that drive bloom events.
Despite decades of research and mitigation efforts, these blooms have expanded both in size and duration in recent years. However, through continued joint efforts between the Canada Ian and Ignited States governments, scientists, and environmental managers, identification of the factors that drive bloom vents is within reach. (Stiffen 466) One excellent way of stopping the spread of toxic algae blooms that have already begun in bodies of water is by spraying clay on the affected areas. It is an effective way of eliminating toxic algae blooms that is also safe for the environment.
It also benefits the environment by the giving correct nutrients to various coral, plants, and animals in the water while preventing the addition of certain nutrients that cause toxic algae blooms. Establishing early warning and detection systems is another key way of prevention of toxic algae blooms. They warn us before the blooms become uncontrollable and allow us to get rid of it before it can cause a great deal of harm. The first method of prevention should always be the education of citizens about the topic.
By educating citizens about the harmful effects of toxic algae blooms, citizens will become more aware about the issue and the harm it is capable of and will attempt to prevent toxic algae blooms to the best of their abilities. Toxic algae blooms can deal a terrible amount of harm to animals, humans, the economy, and the environment. Although, scientists are still learning ore every day about the causes, effects, and methods of prevention of toxic algae blooms worldwide. In order to save the sentinels of our Oceans, we must work together in an effort of preventing further toxic algae blooms.