Today I came across this interesting news report on how there is an unusual phytoplankton bloom taking place in the last few years along the Pakistan coast. The study, published in Nature Communications a few days ago, shows how the phytoplankton blooms are getting increasingly strong in the winter. Possible reasons for this could be the changing weather patterns in the region, or the increasing domestic and industrial waste coming straight into the Arabian Sea from land. We may think of phytoplankton as being always useful, because they set up a food chain, allowing for increased fisheries. This article serves as a good reminder that phytoplankton blooms can also be harmful, such as red tide or the blooms reported in this study, which may disrupt the ecological system along the Pakistan coast. Reports indicate that jellyfish are one of primary sea creatures thriving on these blooms. Jellyfish come with their own hazards and are known to disrupt local ecosystems. Here is an interesting article from the Smithsonian magazine about how jellyfish like to take over ecosystems.
For more details, see this detailed post by the Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The news article by the New York Times is here. The Nature Communications scientific paper can be accessed here.