Travel to Thailand. Dead zone on the east coast

Martwa strefa

Thailand is an exotic gem on the world map. Paradisiacal views, tempting cuisine with many new flavors, and interesting culture all attract tourists looking for a break from everyday life. Nevertheless, a trip to Thailand is not always just about relaxation and beautiful surroundings. It’s also thick, green water over which the smell of grass and dead fish lingers. In recent days, it was announced that offshore, along the eastern coast, the so-called “Sea of the Sea” has been established. blind spot. An unusually intense algal bloom has caused the death of marine organisms – their bodies are piling up on beaches, and clam farmers are counting their losses.

Marine algae vs. dead zone

Algal blooms in aquatic environments are a naturally occurring phenomenon. In recent decades, as a result of anthropopression and climate change, it is occurring more frequently, covering sizable areas. It is reinforced by, among other things. by excessive nutrient input, upsetting the trophic chain in the ecosystem and increasing water temperature. A massive algal bloom causes far-reaching changes in the ecosystem. As a result of their strong proliferation in the surface layer, the flow of light to the deeper layers of water is reduced, resulting in the death of benthic plants and animals, with a consequent reduction in oxygen. In addition, some algae have the ability to produce toxins that can harm other organisms. All of this causes life to die down locally. Such areas in the seas and oceans are referred to as the dead zone.

Green water, fish bodies dumped on shore and losses for local growers

A few days ago, news of an extreme algal bloom in the Gulf of Thailand was reported. The problem affects the country’s eastern coast, more specifically around Chonburi province. According to the researchers, in some areas the abundance of plankton is 10 times higher than usual. This amount of microorganisms has turned the water into a slippery green ooze, and local beaches are full of dead fish. The effects of excessive algal blooms are destroying the ecosystem and affecting coastal residents, especially shellfish farmers. Chonburi is famous for producing these mollusks. As many as 80 percent have been affected by the current situation. breeding. Estimated losses are about 500,000. baht ($14,000).

Seasonal proliferation of algae has taken on an extreme scale in Chonburi

Local scientists are used to seeing algae in the water – a bloom is normal here and usually occurs once or twice a year, lasting for 2-3 days. But now, as marine researcher Tanuspong Pokavanich points out, the situation is unusual. The algae bloom has taken on a scale never before seen by him, resulting in a dead zone stretching along the coast.

Among the organisms that have contributed to the dead zone off the Chonburi coast are algae belonging to the cosmopolitan furballs of the genus Noctiluca sp. Their mass appearances are related to an increase in the amount of nutrients in the water. The immediate causes of the bloom, however, remain unknown at this point. Researchers indicate that the dead zone may be the result of pollution and rising temperatures caused by climate change. At the same time, they warn that unless the way the Earth’s natural resources are managed and the lifestyles of its inhabitants change, such phenomena will increase.

An exotic lesson or a real threat to European coasts?

Thailand’s algae bloom also occurred a little earlier this year in another part of the coast, in Chumphon province. Such phenomena are also observed in other parts of the globe – such as Texas and the Arabian Sea. The problem may soon arise in Europe as well – the UK coast is in the danger zone.

A relatively new phenomenon called a marine heat wave, resulting from the heating of water masses on cloudless, hot days, is another effect of climate change. One of its negative consequences is the excess proliferation of algae, resulting in a dead zone. Although Thailand is a rather remote place, Europe is also seeing the consequences of this phenomenon. These include heat waves in Mediterranean countries and the mass extinction of marine species in the area.

Warming waters have a devastating effect on aquatic ecosystems, causing imbalances, increased mortality of marine species, mass migrations or excessive algal blooms. The disruptive impact of these phenomena on the economy of coastal regions is also not insignificant. Events such as the recent algal bloom in Thailand are another sign that it is no longer necessary to simply reflect, but rather to take concrete action to halt the progress of climate change and to create adaptation strategies for marine ecosystems and fisheries management to counter the effects of these changes.

You can learn more about blooms and what they are in our previous article:“Colorful Vertigo, or Water Blooms”.

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