Over the past few days, the usually dark blue waters of the Bosphorus Strait changed their appearance as they turned turquoise. As many wondered what caused this change, NASA attributes it to phytoplankton.
The Bosphorus Strait separates Europe from Asia and connects to the Black Sea, which is very well known for its dark tinted waters. However, over this past week, this usually “black” water turned a stunning turquoise hue. Media reports point out that many wondered what might have caused this new color. Some attributed it to pollution or even a recent earthquake.
However, according to a statement released by NASA, this change in color was most probably caused by the appearance of significant numbers of phytoplankton blooms.
Phytoplankton, Brighter Than Usual In The Bosphorus
As the aerospace agency explains, phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that inhabit watery environments. These are capable of producing their own food sources through a mix of dissolved nutrients and sunlight.
The agency’s statement continued by adding that blooms can cover “hundreds of square kilometers” in the ocean. Also, these regions are seemingly easily to see in satellite images.
Such a bloom can reportedly last for several weeks, even if the average lifespan of an individual specimen is of just a few days.
One of the most common types of phytoplankton in the Black Sea is the coccolithophores, which are known for being plated with white calcium carbonate. As they aggregate in large numbers, such blooms can be easily seen from the outer space. Out there, they appear as bright and/or milky waters.
Still, not all blooms make the water brighten, as some are more likely to darken it. Diatoms, also specific to the area, tend to the further darken its waters. A professor of environmental science, Ahmet Cemal Saydam, states that the Emiliania huxleyi coccolithophore is the source of the incredible new color.
He also points out that this organism is useful to anchovies, which are quite popular in Istanbul. It can also come as an advantage for the Black Sea.
This year’s bloom period rose to attention thanks to its unexpected brightness. Some point out to its being the brightest such event since 2012.
Image Source: Wikimedia