Red Tide

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick asked the federal government to declare a commercial fishery failure in his state. More than 600,000 acres of shellfishing areas were closed from […]

September 24, 2008

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick asked the federal government to declare a commercial fishery failure in his state. More than 600,000 acres of shellfishing areas were closed from the North Shore to Cape Cod between April and July due to toxins in the shellfish from red tide. The declaration, if approved, would make fisherman eligible for disaster funds. But this algal bloom, while toxic, is not from the same type of algae that clouds the shores of Florida every year or kills sea lions in California. How much do you know about the toxic algal blooms? Take this quiz to find out.

Also on Scienceline:

Unlocking the mystery of red tide.

Will dumping iron into the ocean help with global warming?

Oceans in trouble.

About the Author



larry says:

Getting the Ocean’s mass in perspective

As scientist Jim Lovelock observed, “Although the weight of the Oceans is 250 times that of the atmosphere, it is only one part in 4,000 of the weight of the Earth.”

1/4000 = 0.00025

Therefore, only 0.025% of Earth’s mass is Water. Yet we tend to think of our Oceans as a vast and endless resource, free to everyone.

Scientists also point out, “If the Earth were a globe 12 inches in diameter, the average depth of the ocean would be no more than the thickness of a piece of paper, and even the Deepest Ocean Trench would only be a tiny dent, one third of a millimeter deep. (0.3 mm = 0.01 in)

Since the Ocean’s mass is 0.025% that of Earth’s mass, our Oceans can more accurately be appreciated as the priceless public reservoirs they are, the only living Oceans in the entire universe. Mars might have some frozen mud.

Knowing the Earth’s “surface” is 70.8% water, often leads a popular conclusion… there might be more Ocean than Earth.

Unfortunately, this popular “solution” is legal and leads to a global assumption… that pollution might be absorbed and simply rendered harmless… within the Ocean’s vastness.

Millions of Tons of toxic chemicals are discarded into rivers worldwide, while the industry leaders “cross their fingers” in a futile false hope that the chemicals will quietly be absorbed by the living Oceans.

To compound the problem, millions of tons of plastic, were dumped by the barge load, into our Oceans, it does not “break down” for 500 to 800 years, but it does break into tiny bits of plastic “dust” or “snow. Then PCB’s, that are now major contaminants in the Ocean, are attracted to the plastic bits like a magnetic sponge. Marine animals can’t differentiate the plastic snow from plankton, so they eat the plastic bits, and become toxic with PCB’s, causing immune system failure.

As the toxins slowly distribute worldwide by the Ocean’s conveyer belt currents, the entire food chain is affected, from the tiny coral polyps that make world’s largest reefs, to whales feeding on plankton and other particles suspended in the water column, including PCB laden plastic “snow”.

An impairment to the immune systems of living creatures is being observed globally, from the tiny coral polyps, to the giant killer whales, and finally the humans themselves, seated at the top of the food chain, consuming industrial leftovers that will not bio-degrade in nature for thousands of years.

ATSDR points out that every child born from a mother who consumed Great Lakes fish during their pregnancies were three times (3X) more likely to have lower IQs and twice (2X) as likely to be TWO grade levels in reading comprehension behind their peers. Other studies have shown children who’s mothers consumed PCB-contaminated fish had lower birth rates, reduced motor reflexes and neuromuscular function, poor short-term and long-term memory, weakened immune systems and greater susceptibility to infections, among other problems.

Now tons of the sludge from water treatment plants, containing PCB’s, are being dumped onto agricultural land. Scientists are scrambling just to name the new diseases as they discover them and counting the countless number of species that just became extinct, and the oil emperors fiddle in the stock market while making world record profits.

I know this is hard to believe, it was for me also, so Google: PCB, AUTISM, PLASTIC, OCEAN

As a free nation… we the people… have spent more of our own tax dollars for exploring remote space and the mud on Mars than protecting the only “Living Oceans” in the entire universe while the planet become less inhabitable for humans. Who is really steering this over-heating planet, big business persons? Is bowing to the $tock market index given a higher priority than the World’s Ocean Health index in Washington?

As we awaken to the collapse of our Oceans, we begin to see the consequences of giving the “green light” to industry for dumping millions of tons of “known toxins” into the only known living Oceans in the entire universe.

At age thirteen, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s book, “The Silent World” was presented to me by my scuba instructor, when I was first certified as a scuba diver. I was thrilled with swimming and breathing underwater, enjoying a view of nature referred to as the “Silent World.”

Today, Jacques-Yves Cousteau must be looking down on the Oceans, and the dying coral reefs, with salty tears in his eyes.

Your comments are welcome,

Larry (at) OpenDoorWorld.com

Key Largo, Florida


Clean Ocean Petition

Coral Reef Protection

Adam Glenn says:

Great quiz — very challenging. I learned a lot just from taking it, although your article from last year was really informative as well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Scienceline Newsletter

Sign up for regular updates.