Algal bloom

algal bloom

An algal bloom is a relatively rapid increase in the population of (usually) phytoplankton algae in an aquatic system. Typically only one or a few species are involved and the bloom is recognized by discoloration of the water resulting from the high density of pigmented cells. Although there is no officially recognized threshold level, algae are unlikely to be considered to be blooming unless more than 10,000 cells per millilitre occur. Algal bloom concentrations may reach millions of cells per millilitre. Colors observed are green, yellowish-brown, or red. Bright green blooms may also occur. These are a result of blue-green algae, which are actually bacteria (cyanobacteria).

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