Mysterious Black Water in Florida Bay
Credit & Copyright: ORBIMAGE, SeaWiFS, NASA
What is causing the water in Florida Bay to turn black? The mysterious black color could be seen as early as last December in images taken by the SeaWIFS instrument on board the Earth-orbiting SeaStar satellite. During the darkest period in February, when the above image was taken, visibility in the usually transparent/turquoise water dropped below three meters. Samples have been taken and are currently being analyzed. Early tests show the black water has normal salinity and oxygen and might be an unusual nontoxic algae bloom. Whatever the cause, the black water has real ecological and economic consequences, as normally abundant fish are completely absent. More recent SeaWIFS images show the black water to be breaking up into smaller pockets.
Mystery appearently solved:
04-05-02, 10:14 PM
it was beginning to eerily look like events depicted in a sci-fi story an old biologist pal of mine in the Keys began writing some years ago.....
Local press has postulated this diatom bloom may have been triggered by agricultural runoff coupled with a warmer than normal winter. But in the big picture- Florida Bay has been my favorite sailing area for decades. Get far out there in a small, shallow draft sailboat far from any signs of other humans and it's like turning back time several million years. There are thousands of tiny uninhabited islands where you would not be surprised if a tricerotops were to suddenly charge through the trees.
Sadly, I've seen a progressive decline in the water quality over the past 20 years. Places where you could easily look down and see the bottom in 10 - 20 feet of water back in the '70's and '80's are now murky and muddy. Beds of sea grasses that once teemed with life are now covered with silt and dying off. Things are just not right.
I am sure that there is a lot of pollution that comes down the Mississippi River. After all, it drains the eastern central US, taking with it all the silt, pasture drainage, chemical dumps, any releases or spills of hazardous chemicals, ect show up eventually. All that must drain to the ocean. Once there the ocean current will see that it is spead out over a large area. However when it first dumps in the Gulf it is as concentrated as it gets.
All fertlizers used in crop growth and mom and pop's yards also shows here. Fertilizers encougage the algae growth.
For years Florida has been suffering from a loss of it's coral reefs in the southern Key area. This has been attributed to sewage run off amoungst other stuff as contributers to this problem. Without the coral which provides both home and a safe refuge for sea life, there is far less marine life and with it less natural clean up ability. Along with the other marine life lost is also the loss of the fish that provide the scavanger role in the food chain. The loss of quality oyster beds, which filter huge amounts of water in its day to day living, is another sign that all is not right in the oceans.
Just a few thoughts I would commit to the topic.
04-21-02, 04:54 PM
It is probably the plankton stuck together, because environmentalists have not found any dead fish or water poisining.
What I think why its black because plankton together is just black if you know what I mean?
So instead of polluting the water I think its purifying it.:)
04-25-02, 07:51 PM
Seeing how I was down in sarasota last month they were talking a hell of a lot about it. An interesting thing is that the dark areas were unusually active with small organisms.