Following the death of at least 21 threatened sea otters in Monterey area of California, USA, a study led by the California state government found that each tested positive for microcystin, a toxic substance that found in certain blue-green algae.
This is the first time that freshwater microcystin was linked to the death of marine mammals. Microcystin is naturally present in algae found on the surface of freshwater bodies such as the nearby Klamath River, whose waters pour into the sea.
However, increased temperature along with the presence of substances such as nitrogen and phosphorus from livestock and agricultural runoff causes exponential growth to occur, and the algae forms dense mats known as “algal blooms.”
With the continually rising temperatures associated with global warming, scientists have noted that the algae has been growing more and more aggressively, with the microcystin toxin is being increasingly viewed as a global health concern.
Animals and humans have already been known to perish from ingesting microcystin-containing algae. With sea otter populations on the decline,along with countless other marine animals found perished in recent years, the scientists plan more studies to determine the role of the toxic algae in their diminishing numbers.
California scientists, we are grateful for your efforts to shed light on this dangerous and growing threat to our marine co-inhabitants. May we act now to curb global warming and agricultural runoff to restore the waterways that are vital for all life.
Addressing these dangerous algal blooms during an October 2009 videoconference in Germany, Supreme Master Ching Hai warned of the major role that the livestock industry plays in setting off such unnatural occurrences while highlighting the most effective solution.