Fun in the sun (and slime)
July 25th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

Thick, green algae covers 200 square miles of Yellow Sea

Almost 200 square miles (500 square kilometers) of the Yellow Sea off China are covered by a massive bloom of green algae, according to a report from China's Xinhua news service.

The bloom has spread to almost 7,400 square miles (19,050 square kilometers) in total and is expected to grow, Xinhua reported, citing the North China Sea Marine Forecasting Center of State Oceanic Administration.

The algae bloom threatens marine life as it sucks oxygen from the water although the algae itself is not poisonous, according to the Xinhua report.

Researchers don't know what causes the massive algae blooms, first seen in the Yellow Sea in 2007.

Tons of the green algae had to be removed in 2008 to make way for sailing events at the Summer Olympics.

"We don't know where it originated and why it's suddenly growing so rapidly," Bao Xianwen from the Qingdao-based Ocean University of China, told the China Daily earlier this month. "It must have something to do with the change in the environment, but we are not scientifically sure of the reasons."

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Filed under: China
soundoff (427 Responses)
  1. Dick Hertz

    Use it to produce ethanol. They've used algae before.

    July 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    So you does algae "sucks oxygen from the water"? It is a plant. It creates O2 from C02 or at least that is what my 4th grade teacher taught me many years ago. Come on CNN get your facts straight. It is probably the algae rotting that sucks up the O2. I don't know but Brandon Lendon (the reporter) should and his editors should have caught this.

    July 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • FishOnTheMoon

      During the nigh plants consume O2 and release CO2, so if there's a lot of algae, the level of O2 can decrease too much during the night. Also, only the leaves expose to the light produce O2, in this case the part of the plant that produces O2 probably release it in the air instead of in the water. When the plants died, the organisms that decompose it also consume O2.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • T. Storm

      I agree, algae produces 80% of the oxygen we breathe.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • denim

      And the difference is, what, exactly?

      What usually causes this kind of thing is too much nutrients in the water. What did they dump into the sea??

      July 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      What a stupid misconception. Fish don't breathe and live happily ever after without oxigen.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • piscinepal

      Actually algae and plants do produce O2 during daylight but, at night they are anoxygen consumer and this is when you will get low d.o. (dissolved oxygen) concentration in the water (maybe this was 5th grade)

      July 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      While the algae itself does not "suck oxygen" out of the water, the populations of organisms that eat the algae also increase in direct proportion. This results in the O2 produced from the algae not serving to oxygenate the water. Once the algae dies it is decomposed and any remaining O2 is removed from the water column.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • DenverGrl

      When algae dies, it's decay causes a decrease in oxygen. If there is an algal bloom in a water way then you can expect the water to become inoxic as the algae deplete the nutrients needed to allow it to continue to thrive. Not to mention, it's decay leaves a foul smell. Usually, algal blooms are caused by high concentrations of fertilizers, whether organic or chemical. This is the same sort of thing that is seen in the Gulf of Mexico when there is a dead zone. The water is inoxic due to algal blooms caused by fertilizer run off from the Mississippi River.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      The decomposition process of this algae decreases the amount of O2 in the water column. Bacterial respiration consumes O2, lowering the concentration in the water column. Likely this bloom is caused by an excess of nutrients, I don't know if this region has had a rainy summer, perhaps causing an increase in the nutrient flux to the water.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • KK

      AAHH.. fish do breathe.. use this as a reference.. http://www.howdoesitwork.com/animals/how-do-fish-breathe.html

      July 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • porto

      Plants consume oxygen at night, that's why another thing I learned from my 4th grade science is that it's not a good idea to put a vase of flowers by your bed side.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joeyjoejuniorshabadoo

    It's a Vegan buffet......enjoy you pasty sickly looking nutjobs

    July 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      Nutjobs, but nutjobs without hearth disease.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Erika

    So what? We are not the only inhabitants of Earth. Let the algae live. Seriously. Why do we have to adjust everything to ourselves? When the fish is threatened it will move elsewhere.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Random Dude

      no offense erika, but you're pretty god damn stupid.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      I know it is hard to think outside of the box. You guys repeat what you have been told like parrots.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      Did you take a look at the pictures? There is a huge part of the water WITHOUT any algea. Fish is not stupid. They will move where they can survive and thrive.

      July 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Erika

    Fish might die because they can't come to the surface. Not because of lack of oxygen.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • piscinepal

      why would they need to surface?

      July 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      For the same reason why we like to get into water once in a while. For a change.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bell

      Or to catch insects?

      July 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. O

    GO GREEN. FIGURE OUT HOW TO BURN IT OR TURN IT INTO FUEL. WHO EVER DOES WILL MAKE A FORTUNE OF THIS STUFF.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. inathens

    I have a pond from Lowes in my backyard, about 6 feet across, and it's covered by algae too. Don't know why I wasn't contacted for this. It's obviously not a coincidence.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. phil

    We dont know where it comes from or what causes it....ok so let's swim in it with our kids! lol

    July 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      Why not? It doesn't bite.... It might dangerous when a kid gets entangled though.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Arne

    Remember good ol' Donald Trump and his stories about how impressed he is by the speed which China executes projects like filling up an ocean bay to create land to accommodate business expansion? Well, here is an example of how it goes when ye dont care about Mother Nature... Now, help promote swimming among the algae; people will die and that will become a good contribution to the landfill. This landfill will be extra profitable. MMmmm$$$$$...

    July 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bell

      Rich people don't care about the population. The can always move to a healthy environment.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Luke

    "We don't know what caused it"

    ROTFL, really, maybe the limitless pollution from Chinese industry and runoff contributed, hmm

    July 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. db

    Look no further than the polution that China is letting flow into their rivers as they cheaply produce export products all around the world which are also flawed.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    I can't believe I'm the first one to mention it, but this totally reminded me of a Duck Tales episode where this sort of thing exists in the Bermuda Triangle, and a bunch of folks got trapped and started a civilization on it.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2QfFLHOWaA&w=640&h=360]

    July 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. alexander

    wow thats alot of algie!!!

    July 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert

    Erika, please stop. A fish's gills take oxygen from the water the same way human lungs extract oxygen from the air. This also means that if there is not enough dissolved oxygen in the water, then the fish can suffocate, just as humans and other animals will if there is not enough oxygen in the air that we breathe.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erika

      Has anybody ever proven this? Have they measured the oxygen in the water BEFORE and AFTER it entered the fish?

      July 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DenverGrl

    When algae dies, it's decay causes a decrease in oxygen. If there is an algal bloom in a water way then you can expect the water to become inoxic as the algae deplete the nutrients needed to allow it to continue to thrive. Not to mention, it's decay leaves a foul smell. Usually, algal blooms are caused by high concentrations of fertilizers, whether organic or chemical. This is the same sort of thing that is seen in the Gulf of Mexico when there is a dead zone. The water is inoxic due to algal blooms caused by fertilizer run off from the Mississippi River.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
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