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The Toxic Organisms Behind China's Sparkling Blue Seas

The blue glow behind China's sparkling seas is also a contributor to red tides, as George Dvorsky reported:  

  “ ... red Noctiluca scintillans (RNS), a single-celled microorganism that produces the beautiful bioluminescent blue glow known as “blue tears.” These tiny sea creatures prefer coastal waters, especially along the coast of the East China Sea where they appear in the numbers required to produce the spectacular blue glow.”
  “ Also known as sea sparkles, red Noctiluca scintillans are contributors to red tides—deadly algal blooms that are toxic to marine life. Excessive algae can also starve water of its oxygen, creating noxious dead zones. At the same time, however, RNS are important to ocean ecosystems, as they feed on other phytoplankton and zooplankton.”

In the midst of the RNS' bigger bloom and its effect on marine life, Dvorsky elaborates on the need of a further understanding of how the algae grows :

  “ A deeper understanding of how RNS blooms grow and spread in the East China Sea is obviously important given the ecological value of this species, and its potential to wreak havoc as a contributing organism to red tides.”

image credit: Yu-Xian Yang, Lienchiang county government, Taiwan via Gizmodo

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