Tag Archives: plankton

Plankton blooms sometimes offer dramatic visuals

We’re getting reports from all over Hood Canal as well as other waterways about plankton blooms that are coloring the water red, reddish orange and other dramatic colors. See the story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

<i>Plankton bloom near Seabeck yesterday</i><br><small> Photo by Don Paulson, Seabeck</small>
Plankton bloom near Seabeck on Hood Canal yesterday (Click to enlarge)
Photo by Don Paulson, Seabeck

Health authorities and researchers are checking to make sure the plankton are not the kind that create toxins that can poison people, pets or sea creatures. So far, reports indicate that most of the plankton belong to the genus Noctiluca, which don’t appear to cause a safety problem.

I’ve heard some great descriptions regarding “ribbons” of color lining the shore in various places. Folks often have trouble capturing the visual drama in a photograph. A rare exception is a picture we received today from Don Paulson of Don Paulson Photography. Paulson says he captured this picture yesterday at his home near Seabeck.

If anyone else has been able to get a good image, please send it along to me by e-mail, and I’ll post the best.

It’s spring, and the plankton are in bloom in Hood Canal

Don’t be alarmed, but the waters in southern Hood Canal are beginning to look like autumn leaves.

<i>A multicolored plankton bloom has been seen at Twanoh State Park and other areas. </i><br><small>Photo courtesy of Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group</small>
A multicolored plankton bloom has been seen at Twanoh State Park and other areas.
Photo courtesy of Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group

The color results from the growth of a species of plankton called Noctiluca, which multiplies rapidly in the presence of nutrients and sunlight. Conditions were ideal over the weekend for the water to turn colors — reported as red, orange or yellow. (The photo contains green hues, doesn’t it?)

The plankton aren’t harmful, experts say, and it is too early to say whether the plankton growth we are seeing will contribute to a decline in oxygen levels this fall. These colors are temporary and disappear as the waters get stirred up.

Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Program offers more information on its Web site.

Here is a brief story I prepared for Wednesday’s Kitsap Sun:
Continue reading