October 9, 2013

Algae Bloom, Ohio

Photograph by Peter Essick

This Month in Photo of the Day: The Power of Photography

Fertilizer runoff causes toxic algal blooms. This one covered a third of Lake Erie in 2011.

See more pictures from the May 2013 feature story "Fertilized World."

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57 comments
Dailing Chen
Dailing Chen

nice picture,but the pollution is really serious

Ross Meche
Ross Meche

Artist side of me is like Omg its so amazing looking with the distorted look of multiple greens.


But the environmentalist in me is like, all that algae can't be a good thing. 

Where's Walter
Where's Walter

This  actually seriously affected the biodiversity of Lake Erie, in a bad way. The run off of the fertilizer will forced the lake to undergo a process called eutrophication. During eutrophication the lake will undergo an algae bloom due to the increased nitrates in the water from the fertilizer runoff of local farms. The algae will reproduce rapidly and eventually die off. It will then sink to the bottom and be decomposed. As decomposition takes place the decomposers in the lake will use up all of the dissolved oxygen to aid in respiration and decomposition. The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water will rapidly decrease eventually reaching a state of hypoxia (when the dissolved oxygen level of water is less the 4 parts per million.) As a result there is not enough oxygen in the water to sustain life for creatures fish and other organisms that use respiration as their key method of producing energy.  

 

K. Huang
K. Huang

nice colors. algae makes the photo look like a painting. but i'd rather to not see them in that quantity in any lakes

Gary Conn
Gary Conn

'Algae Bloom'by Peter Essick

Photo gallery: 'The Curse of Fertilizer'by Peter Essick

http://on.natgeo.com/10cZnBg

Photo: 'A Pennsylvania Farm'by Peter Essick

http://on.natgeo.com/10R2yjP

———

Ed.: One of the great photographs from 2013 by National Geographic.

———

North America's Great Lakes are raison d'etre for life in the 'New World' and must be preserved.

—  Gary Conn

Paul Fuhrmann
Paul Fuhrmann

Can be fixed but not as long as farming practices and iresponsible land use trumps water quality.  Lots of watershed scale sediment and nutrient loading fixes that would put folks to work and work!

Shannon T
Shannon T

Typical. When there's a picture of Lake Erie it's gonna be "toxic". At least it's a pretty green. Still love my lake.

Tom Dale
Tom Dale

This is the green of verdigris poison - a different green from that of new life.

Time we learned to tell the difference.


Alekzander Sanchez
Alekzander Sanchez

i wish i could travel all around the world to take amazing pictures like this one

Amal Syahida Tahir
Amal Syahida Tahir

It's scary how something so dangerously powerful (bearing in mind it covered a third of Lake Erie) can be so beautiful.

Janice H.
Janice H.

This should just not happen!           We just have to learn from these things before it's too late.

Brandy Rigsby
Brandy Rigsby

this is called blue green algae people! its a plant not from pollution and its in a lot more places than there and yes its toxic...research

Apid JP
Apid JP

Wooowww....!! Amazing.....


Jayne Rivas
Jayne Rivas

Who will be the genius to learn how to harvest this frightful stuff and turn it into something harmless and useful?

Mandi Merlenbach
Mandi Merlenbach

Wow, all the people saying wow and nice shot. Do you even realize what they mean by TOXIC? Have we deteriorated in brain cells so much that we consider pollution amazing and beautiful?! Stop letting these stupid corporations destroy the planet. THERE IS NO PLANET B.

Larry Downs
Larry Downs

Amazing that the newspapers, the air waves and the internet are plastered with "news" of the shutdown. I just wonder how many people would spend a few seconds in absolute shock after seeing this...like I did.

pawan kumar
pawan kumar

nice pattern . look like water painting

Bob Larson
Bob Larson

Thank you for making it big enough for a background! I've been missing that. Great picture.

Arun Sarin
Arun Sarin

Soon it will be the oceans, considering all of the junk thrown in deliberately by passing ships and polluted rivers :(

Jeff Meyers
Jeff Meyers

WONDERFUL shot! Thanks to whomever made it possible to download as a wallpaper. LOVE being able to share these with my students via LCD projector.

Ionescu Emanuel
Ionescu Emanuel

From above it looks like watercolor. And I bet the smell was as awful as the pollution itself.

Thomas Frazier
Thomas Frazier

Spectacular photo of a spectacular environmental catastrophe.

Elenore Dauncey
Elenore Dauncey

We are not polluting the planet, We are not polluting the planet, We are not polluting the planet.  Now, where are those ruby slippers?

Doris Dieners
Doris Dieners

And we wonder why the fish population is dwindling...

Gary Conn
Gary Conn

'Algae Bloom' — by Peter Essick

Ed.:  One of the great photographs from 2013 by National Geographic.

Feature Gallery:  'The Curse of Fertilizer'  —  by Peter Essick  http://on.natgeo.com/10cZnBg

'Chicken Coops, Pennsylvania Farm' —  http://on.natgeo.com/10R2yjP

The Great Lakes of North America are a raison d'etre for life in the 'New World' and must be preserved.

—  Gary Conn

Leslie Miller
Leslie Miller

@Brandy Rigsby Actually, it is from the excess fertilizer that runs off into the lake. The nutrients enable the blue-green algae to mass produce therefore depleting the oxygen from the lake.  No fish can survive the resulting anaerobic state.  Isn't a human based excess of anything a pollution?

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