Marine Ecology

An Arabian wintertime bloom on the rise

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1575
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6204.1575-d

The bioluminescent dinoflagellite Noctiluca scintillans

PHOTO: VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC./WIM VAN EGMOND

Large and widespread wintertime blooms of the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans have begun to occur in the Arabian Sea. Until a decade ago, wintertime blooms there were dominated by diatoms, unicellular photosynthetic organisms that thrive in the abundant sunlight and high-nutrient conditions which occur at that time of the year. Now those diatoms are being outcompeted. Gomes et al. report that a decrease in the oxygen content of surface waters probably has caused this change, which itself may be caused by high fluxes of organic matter from domestic and industrial wastes. The ascendance of Noctiluca scintillans could have a negative impact on the fisheries of the Arabian Sea, which are sustained by the diatom blooms that now are being disrupted by this new order.

Nat. Commun. 10.1038/ncomms5862 (2014).

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