"..and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river and there was blood through all the land of Egypt."
This very first record of algal blooms is in Exodus 7: 19-21.
The Red Sea is said to owe its name to the colour imparted to its waters by the algae of the group Myxophyceae, when they are abundant. Three freshwater species, Anabaena, Aphanizomenon and Microcystis give rise to this phenomenon. Potentially toxic, to man, no one has yet died. Animals have, however, been killed in Britain and elsewhere. But now a relatively new species is invading our oceans: deadly... unstoppable... with nerve toxins which many of the war mongers on our planet would be proud to have in their arsenal. These organisms threaten not only fish but people too! Scientists fear the increase of these microscopic and deadly creatures is yet another signal that pollution and its result on our planet have generated new conditions for such species to become abundant....
24 life-stages... 9 years of invasion... billions of fish killed... attacks people...
COMING YOUR WAY SOON?!
A quick focus on a microscopical threat by Micscape Magazine
Back last year, our News page touched on the subject on a new algae which is little understood, and is in need of extensive study... not least - because in its toxic stage - it represents a hazard to our own species!
The original news item started something like this:-
The Killers of the seas
No, they are not great white whales or sharks, but microscopic algae which are killing billions of fish. These algal blooms are so dense they can be seen by satellite. They release dangerous toxins that can be devastating to other forms of marine life! Scientists have reported a dinoflagellate algae called: Pfiesteria piscicida - which not only ambush fish with deadly toxins but nourishes on their blood... or human blood too!
Well, here we are halfway through a new year and we learn that not only have they not gone away, but they are on the increase, especially off the coast of America.
With recent widespread coverage in the news on Television and in National papers, we contacted our team member in the States to get a first hand account. Is this hysteria, we asked him... or is it a real threat?!
Our colleague and friend, Bill Amos, was quick to respond:-
|"This hits rather
close to home....
I've seen reports on TV and in
news magazines, but am still mystified, as
Pfiesteria has appeared in my old haunts of Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay where my former marine lab was situated, and I fear it is marching up thecoast.
The way it is moving, it may
get as far north as Cape Cod, which is
A year or two before I retired
in 1984 I was called to examine an enormous
News reports simplistically call
it an alga, which bothers me as a
So, Dave and Mol, by all means
continue to call attention to this strange
regards, Bill Amos
Editor's note: And this is the problem with microscopical life forms: there simply is not enough study going on in areas which are deemed unprofitable. Amateur microscopists are often the first to detect new species or mutations of existing ones - and they labour for love alone. We have predicted many times that the study of microscopical life on a large scale is becoming increasingly important, and that more and more media content will be drawn towards covering the microscopical domain.
We can't add much more right now to the truth about this life-form or its implications to the environment and the people who encounter it. Of course - it is often the evocative elements which make mass-media news. We would do better by not all getting hysterical, yet at the same time, recognise that serious study into this living thing is required. We searched out a few sites on the web which contain images and references on this phenomena.
So if you would like to know more, please visit one of these other sites which provide different perspectives of the topic...
Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, NC State University
Tragedy of the seas - Charleston, S.C. - The Post and Courier
Facts about Pfiesteria
Comments to the compiler Comments to the author sent via our contacts page quoting page url plus : ('micuk','')">Maurice Smith welcomed.
Micscape is the on-line monthly magazine of the Microscopy
site at Microscopy-UK