Algae bloom 50 miles long found off Cornwall and Devon

Map showing algae blooms Recent windy weather has brought the algae blooms to the surface

Related Stories

A 50-mile-long algae bloom has been discovered off the southern coast of Cornwall and Devon.

The swarm of skeletonema is floating between the Lizard in Cornwall and Salcombe in Devon.

It has only come to the surface because of the warm weather, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) said.

Scientists at the laboratory discovered the bloom, and another off South East Ireland, using satellite images.

The algae is not harmful, the laboratory said.

Dr Peter Miller, Earth observation scientist at PML, said: "Skeletonema is a beautiful microscopic plant that, given the right conditions, reproduces rapidly to cover large areas of coastal seas.

"Over the winter nutrients have built up in the sea and the windy weather we have experienced recently has stirred them up to the surface.

Claire Widdicombe, a plankton ecologist at PML, said: "What is interesting is the timing of the bloom.

"We would normally expect the spring bloom to be a few weeks later than this."

The algae was discovered as part of the AquaMar project.

The project uses images from space as an early warning system to detect algae that might pose a risk to humans and the fishing industry.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Devon



9 °C 2 °C


  • Elderly manSuicide decline

    The number of old people killing themselves has fallen. Why?

  • Petrol pumpPumping up

    Why are petrol prices rising again?

  • Image of George from Tube CrushTube crush

    How London's male commuters set Chinese hearts racing

  • TricycleTreasure trove

    The lost property shop stuffed with diamonds, bikes... and a leg

  • Boris Nemtsov'I loved Nemtsov'

    A murder in an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.