Algae turns Australian oceans milky pink

November 29, 2012
A swimmer stops short of a red algae bloom at Sydney's Clovelly Beach on November 27, 2012, which closed some beaches for swimming including Bondi Beach for a period of time.

A huge red algal bloom along vast stretches of southeastern Australia's coastline Thursday resulted in beaches being closed and turned swathes of usually pristine ocean milky pink.

The , noctiluca scintillans, forced the closure of Sydney's Bondi beach and a number of neighbouring inlets earlier this week, and government officials said it had now spread along the fringes of two states.

"Samples taken at Bondi Beach on 27 November confirmed the presence of noctiluca scintillans, which appears as a pinkish to reddish discolouration in water," the government's water office said.

"It can also appear to be phosphorescent at night."

Aerial footage shot over neighbouring Victoria state showed huge blooms of the oily pink scum off Bells Beach, a popular surfing spot, and Lorne, south of Melbourne.

Some keen surfers were seen paddling undeterred through the muck, which has a fishy odour and can irritate the skin and eyes but is not dangerous to humans.

Fisherman were advised not to eat anything caught in an affected area as a precaution.

"There are no practical options for treating marine ," said Peter Codd from Victoria's department of sustainability and environment.

"The best option is to let the bloom run its course and be broken up and dispersed by rough weather."

Commonly known as "sea sparkle" due to its bluish glow at night, noctiluca scintillans blooms typically occur as a result of currents bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface.

It is also known as the "sea ghost" or "fire of the sea".

Explore further: Probing Question: What is a red tide?

Related Stories

Probing Question: What is a red tide?

February 7, 2008

Although its name sounds like a low-budget horror movie, you won't find "Red Tide" at a theater near you. To take in this natural phenomenon, you'll have to venture to the ocean, because red tide — or more scientifically, ...

Harmful 'red tide' hits Dubai beaches

April 7, 2009

Beaches in the Gulf tourism hub of Dubai have been plagued by a bloom of algae known as the "red tide" that has killed fish and is potentially harmful to humans, a municipality official said on Tuesday.

Researchers monitor 'red tides' in Chesapeake Bay

July 27, 2012

Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science continue to monitor the algal blooms that have been discoloring Chesapeake Bay waters during the last few weeks. These "red tides" occur in the lower Bay every summer, ...

Recommended for you

Explaining crocodiles in Wyoming

September 2, 2015

Fifty million years ago, the Cowboy State was crawling with crocodiles. Fossil records show that crocs lounged in the shade of palm trees from southwestern Wyoming to southern Canada during the Cretaceous and Eocene.  Exactly ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2012
2012? Revelation 16:3? LOL

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.