TECH

Tasmanian Sea Glows In The Dark In Worrying Climate Change Warning

Good for Instagram, bad for the planet 🌏

15/03/2017 11:49

A recent flurry of Instagram posts has confirmed that bright blue, glow-in-the-dark oceans have appeared on the northwest Tasmanian coastline for the first time.

The water along the shoreline near Preservation Bay and Rocky Cape, has in recent days become bioluminescent.

Caused by tiny plankton called ‘Noctiluca Scintillans’ (or sea sparkle), the natural phenomenon is found in numerous places around the world.

When the single-cell organisms are disturbed in the water, either by currents or boats and people moving through them, they instantly produce a glow in a move of self-defence.

Which looks pretty damn cool.

But it isn’t all good news, as the plankton’s arrival in the northwest is an indicator of increasingly warming oceans in that region.

Until 1994, the plankton had never been seen anywhere in Tasmania, simply because the waters were too cold to sustain them. 

But in the last couple of decades, they have been spreading through the waters, as global warming strengthens the warm East Australian current.

In May 2015 the plankton were spotted in a river in the south of the country, and at the time Anthony Richardson, from Australia’s national science agency, told New Scientist: “This displays are a sign of climate change.”

Not only that but the plankton entering the local ecosystem means they are competing with pre-existing organisms for food and oxygen resources, depleting local populations.

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS