It is widely acknowledged fact that chemical fertilizers do more harm than good to the environment. Using fertilizers and unnatural water management methods promotes the growth of toxic algae in freshwater ponds.
These toxic algae – otherwise known in scientific circles as toxic cyanobactrial blooms – thrive by the introduction of fertilizers in the water. They show up as unsightly murky green substances that ruin the appearance of crystal clear waters. But more than such aesthetic concerns, too much of these can also severely affect the quality of the water, oftentimes leading to fish kills or irrigation problems.
Now scientific evidence suggests that not only do toxic algae multiply at a rapid pace, they also have the ability to create conditions that are favorable for them. This sets up a “positive feedback loop” in which cyanobacteria form an environment that allows them to alter its immediate surrounding, enabling them to thrive.
Dartmouth’s Professor Kathryn Cottingham, one of the study’s lead authors, says, “Cyanobacteria are on the increase in response to global change — both warming temperatures and land use — and may be driving nutrient cycling in more lakes in the future, especially the clear-water, low-nutrient lakes that are so important for drinking water, fisheries and recreation.”
Such “nutrient cycling” in the water serves to amplify the effects of pollution and climate change, which could further have dire, negative consequences on water resources and worldwide public health, a vicious cycle with far reaching effects.
Scientists note that this study gives them insight into cyanobacterial blooms and how these “pond scum” behave and spread so rapidly. It shows us the impact of fertilizers in water, how it affects and introduces toxic algae, and its ability to drastically change water sources. Such findings can potentially lead to new and improved techniques for its control and prevention in the years to come.