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Jellyfish Population Explosions, Toxic Algae Dampen Mediterranean Fun

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:46 PM
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Jellyfish Population Explosions, Toxic Algae Dampen Mediterranean Fun
EIDT

Thousands of holidaymakers in parts of Italy and Spain have been told not to enter the water due to the threat of stings and poisoning from unusually large outbreaks of algae and jellyfish, which ecologists say are yet another symptom of global warming. The seaweed, a toxic algae called ostreopsis ovata, has forced the closure of usually bustling beaches in Italy and caused considerable discomfort for those who entered the water.

Rosario Vizzini rushed his seven-year-old grandson Samuele to hospital when bright red welts appeared on his arms and legs after a day on the beach in northern Sicily. "The first thing they asked me was if he had been swimming, and in fact he had." The algae can cause skin irritations and respiratory problems and an outbreak caused a large stretch of beach near Rome to be closed for several days.

Just like in "Jaws", local officials have been reluctant to accept the closure of beaches. In Fregene, a beach close to Rome, the mayor ignored the swimming ban and a possible 75-euro (51-pound) fine by taking to the water in an "I love Fregene" T-shirt, as a way to convince tourists his town was safe. After the algae cleared, the coast was infested with jellyfish -- a problem that has also plagued some of the most popular beaches in Spain this August.

Many scientists see the jellyfish and algae outbreaks as signs the Mediterranean is under stress, and even that it is becoming "tropicalised" -- its ecology changing due to warmer temperatures and invasive species from hotter climes. "We already knew that the Mediterranean has started to be invaded with tropical species and its biodiversity has changed," said biologist Isabella Barone, from the University of Palermo. "Most are not dangerous but this seaweed is as it releases toxins."

EDIT

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=1227282006
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:48 PM
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1. yeah and wait til the oil slick gets there..... n/t
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