Chemicals + Runoff + Warming = Toxic Algae = Toxic Shellfish = Otter Deaths

While we’re waiting for the huge catastrophe that will finally focus the attention of two-thirds of the world’s population on climate change [one-third, even as they drown in poisonous water in their collapsing homes, will continue to blame Al Gore], there are plenty of smaller ones developing. In a saner world the sum of all the small ones would add up to something enormous. In the America of the Tea Party 1+1+1+1+1 = 1. They all look alike so they must be equal.

“A toxic algae that forms in reservoirs, lakes and stagnant freshwater ponds was responsible for the deaths of at least 21 threatened California sea otters in the Monterey Bay area, a scientific study revealed Friday … the toxin, called microcystin, had never been linked to the death of a marine mammal and was not believed to be capable of surviving for long periods in saltwater.

Microcystin, which is commonly referred to as blue-green algae, can cause liver damage when ingested. All 21 sea otters that tested positive for the bacteria died from liver failure, according to the study, which was completed with the help of experts from UC Santa Cruz and a variety of state and federal agencies.

It is believed the toxins flowed to the ocean off the coast of Monterey in rivers and creeks. Sea urchins and shellfish near the outflow filtered the water and the poison accumulated in their bodies, which were, in turn, eaten by otters.

…researchers say the microcystin toxin appears to be multiplying in the environment to the point that it is becoming a global health concern. That’s because cyanobacteria, as scientists call bacterial blooms, thrive in warm water that is rich in nutrients from lawn, city and agricultural runoff. The warmer the temperatures, the more bacteria there are

Global warming, scientists say, has increased the frequency of deadly green “super-blooms.”

Read more at SF Gate

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