The Black Sea Is Turning Turquoise And Here’s Why


The Black Sea Is Turning Turquoise And Here’s Why

The Black Sea Is Turning Turquoise And Here's Why
The Black Sea Is Turning Turquoise And Here’s Why

The Black Sea is named that for a reason, and it’s not because it’s turquoise, that’s for sure. Well, as it turns out, the Black Sea is turning turquoise because of phytoplankton carried on local water currents. And to our own amazement, the sea now looks amazing from NASA’s Aqua satellite.

Phytoplankton is made out of tiny organisms that are the basis of the marine food chain and which, in turn, feed directly on sunlight and dissolved nutrients. In the image, we can see that the nutrients needed to feed these tiny creatures come from the mighty Danube and Dnieper rivers. Phytoplankton then eats these nutrients which in turn are food for larger marine life like fish and shellfish, and so forth.

Okay, this isn’t anything new, because that’s how things have always worked with the seas and the food chains found in them. The difference, though, is that this time the Black Sea is no longer that black. Usually, it had a phytoplankton community called coccolithophores. When viewed from a distance, especially from space, it resembles like milk being mixed in water. That’s because this species of phytoplankton has a white calcium carbonate shell.

Another species of phytoplankton found in the Black Sea is the Diatoms. This phytoplankton gives the water a darker colour and thus giving this particular sea its name of the Black Sea. Now, researchers from NASA say that this is not a new occurrence and has happened before. It is, however, the most bright change in colour since 2012. The problem is that if these phytoplankton blooms become too large, it can lead to eutrophication, meaning that oxygen disappears from the water and marine life might asphyxiate.

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