Microscopic organisms turn Istanbul shores turquoise

Cesar Mills
June 15, 2017

The Bosphorus Strait, which divides the continents of Europe and Asia, has undergone a sudden change of color in Istanbul, Turkey, transforming its waters from a deep blue to a stunning turquoise. Some feared of a pollution spill, while others suggested an quake rocking the Aegean region last Monday, June 12.

The effect was so startling that even Nasa tweeted a photo of the Black Sea.

Scientists were quick to downplay the seeming mystery of color change that went with a sharp smell of water.

But this week, the famous waters turned bright turquoise, after a surge in the Emiliania huxleyi (or Ehux) plankton in the Black Sea.

Children jump into the Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday.

"This has nothing to do with pollution", he said, and added that the organism is good for anchovies, popular fare in Istanbul.

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Why The Milky Turquoise Waters?

Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in watery environments - and they make their own food, using sunlight and dissolved nutrients. They generally support fish, shellfish, along with other marine creatures.

Rivers Danube and Dnieper, which carry nutrients to Black Sea, are shown in the image. But large, frequent blooms can lead to eutrophication-the loss of oxygen from the water-and end up suffocating marine life.

Nasa said the milky colouration is "likely due to the growth of a particular phytoplankton called a coccolithophore". The first is coccolithophores, which is microscopic and plated with white calcium carbonate.

Last year, New Jersey beachgoers were surprised by the view of aquamarine waters when they were typically grayish along the shore.

According to NASA, this year's phytoplankton bloom is found to be one of the brightest that caught Kuring's attention since 2012. On its website, it describes the phytoplankton "bloom" as an annual occurrence. There is a humungous erosion of area covered under sea ice, and sea ice is heavily thinning today.

Other reports by GizPress

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