Marine Mucilage Definitions:
- Marine snow - small amorphous aggregates with colloidal properties.
- Marine Mucilage - coalescence of marine snow into large marine aggregates.
- Marine snow is present in all oceans of the world.
- Surface water warming can favour the coalescence of this marine snow into marine mucilage.
- Marine mucilage characteristic of aquatic ecosystems with changed environmental conditions.
- The phenomenon is causing increased concern around coastal areas as a result of socio-economical consequences.
- The Adriatic Sea (esp. Northern portion) within the Mediterranean basin is the most severely affected by outbreaks of massive marine mucilage.
- Research evidence suggests that spreading of mucilage in the Mediterranean Sea is linked to climate-driven sea surface warming.
- Mucilage was reported in the Adriatic Sea for the first time in 1729.
- The original description mentioned the “dirty sea” phenomenon (“mare sporco”) as it caused the clogging up of fishing nets.
- From this time there have been sporadic reports of the phenomenon.
- Over the last 30 years, the reported frequency of this phenomenon appears to have increased markedly.
- Made of exopolymeric compounds with highly colloidal properties that are released by marine organisms.
- Phytoplankton will exude photosyntetically-derived carbohydrates when placed in stressful conditions (i.e. P-limited diatoms which produce large amounts of polysaccharides, or death & decomposition of cell-wall debris).
- Prokaryotes may not be able to digest these exopolymers leading to release and further accumulation.
- The mucilage makes seawater areas unsuitable for bathing because of the bad smell & the adherence to the skin of bathers.
- The life span of the mucilage may be up to 2-3 months on the water surface or column.
- Marine mucilage once it has settled on the sea bottom, coats the sediments, & may extend for kilometers - producing hypoxic / anoxic conditions.
- This may then cause suffocation of benthic (bottom-associated) organisms.
- The mucilage can also act as major repository for prokaryotes (i.e.bacteraia & protozoa) & viruses with the potential health risks of this.
- Fingerprinting techniques also show that the mucilage has increased bacterial diversity compared with the surrounding seawater.
- Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) has identified Vibrio harveyi in from some marine mucilage deposits, but not in the surrounding seawater.
- It is possible that the complex organic matrix of marine mucilage enables favourable microniches to develop which then support pathogen colonization & survival.
Sea "Mucus" Blobs Pose Threat (National Geographic):
Credits (Information & Images): PLoS ONE - Climate Change and the Potential Spreading of Marine Mucilage and Microbial Pathogens in the Mediterranean Sea. (cc)
Tags: Adriatic Sea - Exopolymeric Compound - Marine Biology - Marine Mucilage - Marine Snow - Mediterranean Sea - Microniche - Phytoplankton - Vibrio harveyi -
Posted by ALCHEssMIST - Alchemipedia - Cetacographer - Nirvana - Tags alliance.
Alchemipedia Animals | Alchemipedia Dates | Alchemipedia Geography | Alchemipedia Numbers | Alchemipedia People | Alchemipedia Years |
Home | Index | A-Z | Animals | Architecture | Art | Business | Fashion | Films | Food & Drink | Games | Health | History | Literature | Media | Migaloo | Music | Numbers | People |Politics | Science | Sport | Technology | World | Years |