Algal Growth and Global Warming

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Algal Growth and Global Warming



Algal Growth and Global Warming

Global warming has occurred due to the adverse effects of climate change globally. In a bid to control the phenomenon, scientists and environmentalists have proposed various approaches geared at decreasing carbon dioxide levels in the air. Phytoplankton such as algae use up carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, and increasing the algal population is thought to increase the natural carbon sink. The algal bloom will utilize carbon dioxide in high amounts; thus, reducing its amounts in the environment.

Algae require iron as a micronutrient for essential biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and assimilation, porphyrin biosynthesis, and respiration. Oceans generally have low levels of iron that do not favor the growth of large populations of plants, which explains why the ocean waters are blue and clear. Thus, fertilizing the oceans with iron will spur the growth of the algae and other phytoplankton. This is a good solution to reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide significantly, but it has its downside (Choi, 2010).

Boosting algal growth using iron fertilization in the ocean could trigger the growth of harmful algae such as Pseudo-nitschia. Large populations of the algae emit toxins such as domoic acid, which are hazardous to the marine population. The toxin contaminates the marine biodiversity, poses a risk to the mammals and birds that feed on the contaminated fish, and closes the sardines and shellfish fisheries. The Pseudo-nitschia is a naturally rare species in the oceans, but thrives well in areas rich in iron. Thus, an iron input significantly increases the algal bloom since they are overly responsive to iron. Overgrowth of the toxic algae is hazardous to the human and animal health because its blooms can easily contaminate the food chain, causing poisoning. Iron fertilization increases the population of phytoplankton such as algae, significantly reducing the amount of carbon dioxide by creating natural sinks that help in curbing global warming (Choi, 2010). Conversely, enriching the oceans with iron could lead to the growth of harmful algal species that could poison the food chain of both animals and humans.

My reservation in the approach is the impending danger of the growth of harmful algae that may cause the death of marine life and other animals feeding on contaminated animals and plants. However, the approach is commendable since it aims at reducing the excess carbon dioxide in the air by boosting the algal population that utilizes the carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Scientists should devise ways of ensuring that only the useful algae grow in the oceans for ecological benefit.

The video gave insight on the structure of the diatoms and their adaptive features. It has highlighted some of the various forms of algae and their distinctive features.............

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