The Dangers of Algal Bloom

Never take for granted the small signs of algae in your water system: algae multiply quickly that they can almost swathe the entire pond or lake and, worse, destroy the pond and its inhabitants.

These tiny plant-like organisms grow drastically in any water features, whether on fresh water or marine environment. The rapid increase of algae is popularly known as algae bloom. The existence of phytoplankton species can aggravate the growth of algae. Algae bloom can manifest anytime, particularly during summer or spring, and thrive in any places where water is copious such as wetlands and waterways.

Algae are part of the natural aquatic ecosystem. They provide food and protection to fish and other marine organisms. They help the aquatic ecosystem from getting enough nutrients and filtering heavy metals. There are approximately 3,000 species of fresh water algae found in Australia alone, but the number of undiscovered species is continuously rising.

Most types of algae produce blooms that can be either beneficial or toxic. Blooms produced from diatoms promote the health of the aquatic ecosystem. However, most algae blooms are considered “detrimental” to the life of fish and water. Harmful algal bloom or HAB is the term used by scientists when referring to toxic algae.

Algal bloom is a natural phenomenon that can be a culprit for the destruction of commercial fisheries and natural water systems. There are 300 reported species of micro algae that produce enormous mass of algal blooms. Certain species can turn clear water into red, brown, yellow, or green, commonly known as red tides. Red tide happens when there is unbalanced number of microscopic algae Karenia brevis or formerly known as Gymnodinium breve. Experts believe that red tide is triggered by high temperatures and insufficient wind and waterfall.

Harmful algae can be very harmful for they emit toxin that affect marine organisms and the water itself. Untreated and uncontrolled algal bloom can bring massive problems to commercial fisheries, resulting to economic loss in coastal communities. HABS can paralyze aquaculture operations and affect the livelihood of fish farmers,

Otherwise, harmful algae bring much problems to marine life and humans. Some toxic species are responsible for various diseases such as loss of memory, stomach cramping, sickness, paralysis, and worse, fatality. Once consumed or direct contact occurred, humans and animals may get serious diseases and may also lead to death

Scientists have not traced yet the exact causes and solutions for harmful algae bloom. The threats of algae bloom to commercial fisheries and public water systems have spurred panic among pond and fishery owners. The notorious algae bloom has been a global problem. There have been documented cases of HAB across the world. In recent years, HABS have been found in areas that they had not thrived before; while most HABS are causing turmoil to large, dense areas. Whilst, there are rare cases wherein algae bloom tend to behave, but they suddenly became untamed and caused problems.

When small signs of algae infestation arise, you must be equipped with tools and water treatment products to prevent algae from coming.