Friday, March 23, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - What Am I?

I’m green and leafy, live under water and can grow up to 2.8 metres in height. And even though I’m a plant, I’m still considered dangerous.

What Am I?

Killer Algae!

More Than Just Sludge

Algae were one of the first plants to develop in our seas from tiny, simple celled creatures called bacteria. These bacteria were so small you could fit thousands of them on a single pin head. Over time some of these bacteria cells formed into what we know today as algae.

Algae can be found in many places. You may have seen algae growing on the sides of an aquarium or in someone’s outdoor pond or even a swimming pool. Mostly this slimy, green substance is harmless. In fact, it even provides food for a variety of fish and sea creatures.

Attack of the Killer Algae?

To look at killer algae you’d probably think it was pretty, but lurking beneath those leaf-like fronds, lies the making of a disaster.

What makes it so dangerous?

It’s hardy enough to grow in any conditions from cold to warm water, on rock, sand, mud, and from depths of 3-100 metres. This fast growing, invasive species of algae quickly spreads, smothering out all the other species of algae and sea grass. Plus, it’s highly toxic to many species of fish and sea life.

The Spreading Problem

One of the ways killer algae spreads is by attaching to ship anchors and being dragged for thousands of kilometres before it’s released into a new area. Around 1985 this pretty killer was accidentally introduced into the Mediterranean Sea. It soon began to flourish and become a poisonous-problem. It now covers 32,000 acres of the coast of France, Spain, Italy and Croatia. People here who depend on fishing for their livelihoods are in trouble as this killer algae continues to take over the sea floors.

To find out more about killer algae or other cells, check out your local library or the internet.


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