Massive algae bloom on China coastline
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. AmINuts

    Um unless I miss something in Science class Algae Produce Oxygen and use photosynthesis. The above report says its kiling marine life because its sucking up all the Oxygen. Another example of Journalism at its best. What a bunch of dweebs.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • CRS

      Well it seems that some people were asleep on their science classes... Plants give off oxygen through photosynthesis, but they also USE UP oxygen through the process of RESPIRATION to produce energy.. Therefore if there is an excess of biomass (algae) in the water the oxygen gets depleted and it is detrimental to animals that need oxygen to survive. The article is correct!

      July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edgar

      You're not only nuts but also ignorant...and yes yopu missed a lot in your science class if you ever attended one...or maybe you attended those where the republicans teach?
      Anyway, check how and what the plants use what they just stored during the light phase of photosynthesis...

      July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      They went to journalism school , not biology class !

      July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuck

      Yes, you missed something. Trying googling "how algae blooms deplete oxygen."

      July 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • oooo

      You're not nust, AmINuts. You're just an idiot.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BC

      Let's get back to some simple BASIC science here. You are correct, algae produce oxygen via photosynthesis. That much you know. Good. But large surface algae blooms deplete the water of oxygen in 3 ways. 1. If it is a thick mat on the surface, as in this case, it can block sunlight and prevent other forms of algae/sea plant from producing oxygen. 2. A thick surface algae coating can block the natural exchange of oxygen from air to water. 3 MOST IMPORTANTLY: as the algae dies the decomposition via aerobic bacteria CONSUMES the available oxygen in the water. The net result is a oxygen depleted region and mass die off of sea life.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. newmy

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

    how about figuring out what the factories were dumping into the ocean around 2007?

    July 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurette

      Too true.

      I wonder when is everyone going to wake up and realize that the Most Favored Nation is the devil.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Coreyspr89

    Hmmm....Seems like alot of Bio-Fuel to me! Wish I had the cash to harvest it!!

    July 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lauren

    Sudden death of phytoplankton or algae bloom, "bloom crash", may result from insufficient light (e.g. cloud cover) for photosynthesis, inadequate pond nutrients (a bloom too dense to be supported by available nutrients and oxygen) and/or bloom senescence (the plant cell line becomes too old to continue reproduction). Oxygen is consumed or depleted when dead phytoplankton/algae decay. During the nighttime hours, a dense phytoplankton bloom can remove all oxygen from the water for respiration (to breathe) alone. When a bloom crash occurs, the water appears to have become "black" or clear overnight.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. trish

    Hey guys, will you do me a favor and visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine with 2 babies is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    July 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Thinking7

    Yes, I would say it most definitely has something to do with the changes in the environment. Global warming would cause algae to grow out of control.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wet

    Ummm... how about pollution as a cause? Nitrate runoff.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sam

    I think what the person said about algae sucking oxygen out of the water is that when the algae dies, the bacteria decomposing it will eat all the oxygen. The bloom right now is unsustainable, it will be followed by a massive die off. Thats when the oxygen will be depleted.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Junebug

    Welcome to summer.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eric

    What sucks oxygen is the DECAY of algae. When algae dies it consumes dissolved oxygen when it decomposes.

    Algae produces oxygen, but in gaseous form. Oxygen gas doesn't readily dissolved into water unless the partial pressure of O2 is high enough, which is rarely the case.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nuclear Threat

    why dont they just get aggressive, use their ships and start removing it?

    July 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Not a scientist

    I'm not a scientist, but a quick look at wikipedia states that algae PRODUCES oxygen....moron journalists.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuck

      A quick google search will also explain why algae blooms deplete oxygen. You aren't a scientist, nor are you correct.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RUFFNUTT

    poop... poop,,, it's poop!!!!!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BachmannKeepsMeLaughing

    Ummmm. Screw the science talk. Why the f_kk are these people still swimming in it? Is it THAT important to take a dip? o_O

    July 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don F.

      The Chineese should declare it to be an aphrodesiac of significant power and let the market handle it from there.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fadeinlight

    "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."

    CNN just -had- to get that little left-wing message in there. Does it not seem more likely that this algae bloom is a product of pollution? Most of the algae blooms that I've heard of are the result of farm runoff and other forms of pollution, not "the change in the environment" AKA "global warming."

    July 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      left wing message? You basically just repeated what they said. Change in the environment could include pollution. Get it? If you would take your political blinders off and just read the story and try to understand the science without political hatred you might get to the solution faster.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martyr2

      Could be a bit of both. Pollution in the water and with warmer global temperatures, it is a great environment for germination and growth. Usually such things can't grow in cold frigid water.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • hmm

      Clearly, pollution changes the enviornment.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thoughtful

      Ummmm. Pollution is a change of environment. The statement was that something has changed in the environment. It could actually be global warming which is not a left or right issue.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Pollution-induced climate changes are still climate changes. Whether a natural change in the environment has caused the algae growth or a pollution-induced change in the environment has caused the algae growth both point to the same end: a change has occurred and potentially hazardous results are literally growing.

      Reminds me of a saying:
      "Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten"

      July 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Swizzy

      Idiot.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • physnchips

      I second the idiot comment.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
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