Over the past few days, the waters of the Bosphorus Strait have sported quite an unusual color. More commonly known for their dark blue tint, these waters are now turquoise. The change, which brought wonder to residents, received an explanation from scientists that attributed it to phytoplankton.
The Brightest Bosphorus Strait since 2012
The Bosphorus Strait is the natural division between Europe and the Turkish city of Istanbul. Connected to the Black Sea, the area’s waters usually have a dark hue. However, every year, their colors darkens or lightens thanks to the spring phytoplankton blooms.
However, this year, the bloom period extended and become much brighter than usual at it is still peaking even in June. NASA’s MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) captured some stunning images of the event.
“When conditions are right, phytoplankton populations can grow explosively, a phenomenon known as a bloom,” states NASA.
A statement from NASA also offered some further details on the most probable cause behind the water’s turning turquoise. Namely, the aerospace agency explained that phytoplankton are microscopic organisms capable of generating their own food. They can do so with help from dissolved nutrients and sunlight. Usually, these tiny organisms offer support for shellfish, fish, and other marine inhabitants.
NASA states that the observed milky coloration is most likely caused by a particular type of phytoplankton, the coccolithophore. The Emiliania huxleyi, one its species, can adapt and then thrive in any waters from the equator up to sub-Antarctic regions.
This particular type of coccolithophore is also white-calcium carbonate-platted. So a large quantity of its blooms can lead to the appearance of noted milky sheen. Ahmet Cemal Saydam, a professor at the Hacettepe University also points out to this being an ‘explosion’ of Emiliania huxleyi blooms.
He also points out that this could be beneficial for anchovies, which are a staple food in the city.
Image Source: Wikimedia