|Mokumanamana! Spetacular fields of algae made us aware of its importance to the ecosystem. Surrounded by an inquisive shark, two teachers held hands. Signs of human presence ... Returning in small boats, the mother ship, 10 miles away, was not visible. Many of us were struck by the vastness of this ocean wilderness and our insignificance in it, putting our trust in technology to get us back. We are in awe of the Hawaiians who came before, without this technology.
Talk About It!
(Links to larger versions will be provided after we return.)
Talk About It!
Could Algae be a threat?
Asked by Theresa Tanya from UH Student on Aug 16, 2005.
I enjoyed the pictures from August 14th. After reading the comment about how algae is important to our ecosystem, I started to wonder whether it could ever become a threat to our ecosystem? I know there are some plant species that we are concerned about, so I wondered if the same is true with algae. If so, what methods are used to prevent such dangers?
Enjoy the ocean for me!
Answered by Cindy Hunter, University of Hawaii Marine Biology Program on Aug 16, 2005.
Algae are critically important elements of most (all?) marine ecosystems. Problems arise when imbalances occur, such as too many nutrients an/or depletion of herbivores (fish, sea urchins), or introduction of alien species with no native herbivores. Algae may then become invasive pests, overgrowing native species and habitats.
Preventative measures may include controls on runoff and pollution, overfishing, and careful control of ballast water and hull fouling. It's hard to turn this around once the invasion gets started!
[See also our article on algae-dominated reefs at