100-mile algae bloom blankets N.J. coast


Jan 22, 2007
Southern NJ
Big enough to be clearly seen from space, a massive algae bloom off the Jersey Shore is painting 100 miles of ocean a striking blue-green but currently poses no danger to marine life, scientists say.

That could change if die-offs and decay of the microscopic plants called phytoplankton rapidly deplete dissolved oxygen in near-shore pockets of the ocean. So scientists are tracking the bloom from space, air and sea, sending robotic submarine probes to sample the water and keep tabs on the oxygen levels.
Most of the bloom off South Jersey is associated with weeks of ocean upwelling, as prevailing winds pushed warm surface water away from land and drew up colder water laden with nutrients that phytoplankton thrive on, said assistant professor Josh Kohut, an oceanographer with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.
"It's not something completely out of the ordinary, but it is unusual for its size."