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The "Blue Tears", a Magic Phenomenon (and Very Toxic) by the China Sea


Environment & animals

"Blue tears" are forming more and more on Chinese shores. This show is caused by bioluminescent organisms, which, according to scientists, prove to be a real danger to marine life.

It is a poetic show that attracts tourists from around the world, but is not certain as we learn The independent. In the China Sea, the coast is sometimes covered with a blue glow and glitter: this phenomenon is called "blue tears" or "blue tears". This amazing color is actually due to a high concentration in the water of microorganisms called Noctiluca scintillan, A variety of unicellular algae.

Blue tears
Notiluca cells under the microscope emit blue light. © Sheng-Fang Tsai, National Taiwan Ocean University.

The Bioluminescence is a way for the Phyto Planetary to attract its prey. When the water turns blue, it is rather synonymous with the danger of marine ecosystems. Problem: Noctiluca scintillan Proliferates, and She is toxic"Warns Chanmin Hu, Ocean University of South Florida University and co-author of a study on him. To find out, scientists say they analyzed 1,000 satellite images captured over the past 19 years, which allowed them to identify the unique "Blue Tears" signature: " It's like a fingerprint"Dr. Sa is competing.

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Cause still uncertain

While this is a proliferation of tourists, there is a threat to marine ecosystems. Indeed, Noctiluca scintillan The oxygen of the "digestion" toxic substances that give life, fish to sea turtles, and they absorb the oxygen contained in water, even if they are deprived of other species. " Oxygen levels are so low that other animals can die"Confirmations Dr. Hu.

Blue tears
A view of the East China Sea captured by a NASA satellite: blooms are visible off Hangzhou Bay. © NASA / University of South Florida Optical Oceanography Lab.

The cause of the "blue tears" is not yet certain, but the scientists believe that the polystyrene dumped by Chinese agriculture in the Yangtze River play a decisive role. The river is transporting large quantities of fertilizer, which pours into the sea, bringing all the nutrients N. scintillan Need to dissolve.

If this hypothesis is confirmed, the higher trend may actually be over the next few years, with all the implications for the local marine fauna.

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