EDEN IAS

NEWS IMPULSE – ‘SEA SPARKLE’ HAS AFFECTED MARINE FOOD CHAIN | 02 DECEMBER

Syllabus Section: Environment, Ecology / Biodiversity

Why in News?

The bloom of Noctiluca Scintillans on Karnataka coast has displaced microscopic algae.

• This microscopic algae called diatoms, form the basis of the marine food chain.

What is ‘Sea Sparkle’ ?

• The bloom of Noctiluca Scintillans, commonly known as “sea sparkle”.

• It is a dinoflagellate, a little single-celled algae.

• Noctiluca Scintillans are bioluminescent.

• Floating in swarms of millions these organisms cause the glowing of the sea.

Threat Posed

• Blooms of N. Scintillans were linked to massive fish and marine invertebrate kills.

• According to studies, the species does not produce a toxin, it was found to accumulate toxic levels of ammonia, which is then excreted into the surrounding waters, possibly acting as the killing agent in blooms.

• The ammonia makes N. Scintillans unpalatable for most creatures, only jellyfish and salps were known to prey on it.

 N. Scintillans grazes on other micro-organisms such as larvae, fish eggs, and diatoms. But the unicellular phytoplankton that live inside it can photosynthesise, turning sunlight into energy.

 They help their host cell survive even when food was scarce. Thus, N. Scintillans acts as both a plant and an animal,

 In September 2018 too such bioluminescence was witnessed along the Someshwara beach in Dakshina Kannada and Mattu in Udupi.

 

Source: The Hindu

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