Turquoise phytoplankton blooms dazzle in waters along Newfoundland's east coast
Phytoplankton blooms in Seal Cove in Conception Bay South are shown in this Sunday Sept. 8, 2019 handout image. The blooms have turned some eastern Newfoundland waters bright turquoise over the last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ross Morgan
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:01PM EDT
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Phytoplankton blooms are putting on a unique and colourful show in the waters along Newfoundland's eastern coast.
The patches of stunning turquoise water are so large they can be seen from space, according to satellite imagery from NASA.
Federal fisheries and oceans scientist Cynthia McKenzie says the vibrant colour is reflected by chalky calcium carbonate scales on the tiny phytoplankton cells.
McKenzie says wind has pushed the large number of blooms of the species known as coccolithophorids close to shore, where the cells thrive in warmer temperatures and calm waters.
The phenomenon is not unheard of in the province's waters, but McKenzie says this is the first time she's heard of blooms as far north as Conception Bay and Trinity Bay.
McKenzie says the microscopic plants are safe to touch and thrive in warm temperatures, light and minimal wind.