Monday, January 26, 2015

the sparkling south china sea

source: AP Photo/Kin Cheung via Gizmodo

This beautiful and deadly image has been circulating through the media for the past week. It's a picture of Hong Kong's shoreline in Tai Po, awash in Noctiluca scintillans algal bloom. I first saw and wrote about the luminescent waters in 2009, though back then I didn't know that they were not positive for the environment. The plankton at the bay in Farjado, Puerto Rico are a tourist attraction and it never occurred to me that their presence could spell disaster. I now know that the glowing shores of 'sea sparkle' feed on nitrogen and phosphorus rich industrial run-off and in turn give off ammonia byproducts that disturb marine life.

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