The Big Problem With Lake Erie's Big Algae Blooms
Algae blooms aren’t just slimy — they can throw entire ecosystems out of balance and poison humans and animals that come into contact with them.By Evan Thomas | July 11, 2015
Researchers at the University of Michigan and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warn Lake Erie is looking at one of the most severe algae blooms in recent years.
The enormous bursts of greenery are thanks mostly to cyanobacteria, which aren’t actually algae at all, but single-cell bacterial organisms that run on sunlight and nitrogen. And for such tiny things, they can cause big problems. (Video via Lake Erie Center)
Cyanobacteria cause dead zones in both fresh and saltwater. When a bloom dies it absorbs all the oxygen in the water. The bigger the bloom, the greater the oxygen drain.