Mysterious ‘ectoplasm from Ghostbusters’ coats West Coast where sea life once thrived

Saturday, August 29, 2015
By Paul Martin
Saturday, August 29, 2015

A mysterious green goo is haunting the West Coast. Local fishermen have dubbed the mystery goo as “mud” for its thickness and muddy color, and have attributed it to this year’s abysmal salmon season.

Fishing nets have been pulling in more mud than Nass River sockeye. According to Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the green slime is actually the goo of a type of algae called phytoplankton.(1)

Phytoplankton are foundational to the food chain, since they attribute to the first forms of food. Smaller fish graze on phytoplankton, which are consumed by larger predators. In the event of a massive bloom, the carcasses of phytoplankton fall to the seafloor. Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton usually feed the ocean oxygen. The bacteria that decompose the phytoplankton can starve the ocean of oxygen, which suffocates fish and leads to waters devoid of life known as “dead zones.”(2)

Abysmal salmon season

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