Blue-green algae patches pop up in Lovers Key State Park
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — A local fisherman spotted patches of brown and green floating near Lovers Key State Park earlier this week.
At first Jeremy Robertson thought it was just floating grass. When he got a closer look, it was something much more complicated.
“There were a number of these six-feet circles with the bright green stuff actively growing on it,” he said. “And it smelled, and there were bugs around. I’ve never seen them like that.”
FGCU Water School professor, Dr. Barry Rosen, was able to determine what the mass was.
“It’s got at least two species of blue-green algae in it,” Rosen said.
Rosen identified a species of Cyanobacteria in the sample called Lyngbya, which lives in saltwater.
He said the masses Robertson found were likely stirred up from the ground underwater by rain or currents.
“I’d imagine this was all covering the bottom, a nice tight mat,” he said.
When the cells hit sunlight they likely started dying and “bleaching,” resulting in the blue-green color.
Rosen cautioned this type of algae can irritate your skin and cause problems if swallowed.
“Whether you get it from your drinking water or if it’s a dog that goes into the water, gets it on their fur and licks it off, they end up with a dose,” Rosen explained.
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