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Rising CO2 levels intensify algal blooms across globe: Dutch scientists

English.news.cn   2014-08-15 21:52:49

THE HAGUE, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere will stimulate harmful algal blooms at a global level, Dutch scientists Jolanda Verspagen and Jef Huisman of the University of Amsterdam concluded in research to be published in the next edition of the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The research was carried out at the Department of Aquatic Microbiology of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen. Verspagen and Huisman did their investigations on the basis of new mathematical models, laboratory experiments and field research.

Harmful algal blooms are a major concern in water quality management, and often lead to the closure of recreational waters. The harmful algal blooms form a threat to the water quality of nutrient-rich ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Dense blooms may smother water plants and can lead to fish kills. In addition, several harmful algal species can produce toxins causing serious and sometimes fatal liver, digestive and neurological diseases in birds, mammals and humans, according to the researchers.

"The novelty of our work is the tight combination of mathematical models and experiments", Verspagen said in a press release issued by the University of Amsterdam. "This approach allows detailed quantitative prediction of the complex feedback between algal growth and the availability of CO2 in water. Algae are responsible for about fifty percent of the global primary production of our planet. Such quantitative approaches are therefore highly needed."

"In essence, the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations is one big fertilization experiment at an unprecedented large scale," Huisman added. "An enhanced CO2 influx into aquatic ecosystems is not just a problem for a few local lakes. It will intensify algal blooms in nutrient-rich waters across the globe. Water managers and policy makers will have to prepare for a deterioration of the water quality due to climate change."

Editor: Mioh Song
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