Noctiluca algae

  • The Noctiluca algae, commonly known as sea tinkle, is a parasite and occurs in patches or ‘blooms’ in the Northern Arabian Sea. They glow at night due bioluminescence, and have earned them the nickname ‘sea sparkle’.
  • However, these patches are a sign of decline because they compete with fish for food and choke their supply. Noctiluca devours one of the most important planktonic organisms at the base of the fish-food chain, namely diatoms, and also excretes large amounts of ammonia, which is linked with massive fish mortalities.
  • A warming ocean means greater temperature differences among layers of the sea water and this slows the upward transport of nutrients like silicate from the ocean bottom, lowering its concentration at the surface.
  • Diatoms growing in surface water need both sunlight and silicate to build their glass skeletons and thus, will fail to thrive when silicate becomes less available.
  • On the other hand,Noctiluca remains unaffected by these changes and additionally will prey on the remaining diatoms.
  • “Remarkably, the waters in the study area were observed to have sufficient oxygen clearly opposing any linkage between low oxygen and Noctiluca growth.
  • Intensifying global-warming conditions, thus may be expected to disrupt the fish-food chain and cause a decline of fisheries in the region.


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