EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was updated on Aug. 5, 2015: Resident Elston Hill photographed some impressively large algae blooms floating off the shores of Burien Tuesday (Aug. 4). “Much bigger today,” he said. “Big circles. Quite a trail coming down the Sound pushed by the tide and wind.” Previously this year, we reported on a tomato soup-like bloom off Seahurst Park Beach on May 28 – read about that here. Click images to see larger versions/slideshow: aAug4_0055 aAug4_0059 aAug4_0060 aAug4_0047 Here’s more info from the Department of Ecology website:

Algae blooms come in several colors Blooms can appear in different colors ranging from green to red, orange, yellow or brown. Often these colors are from the common pigments in phytoplankton that allow them to photosynthesize. However, blooms can also be from zooplankton, such as Noctiluca, which feed on the phytoplankton. Noctiluca visibly aggregate at the sea surface as part of their life cycle and feeding strategy. The nontoxic Noctiluca blooms usually appear as a rusty reddish color like tomato soup and are common in Puget Sound. A Noctiluca bloom is in the photo above. Algae can produce toxins Most blooms are harmless, but some types of blooms can produce toxins that can make people sick if they are exposed to high enough levels of the toxins. Exposure can come from inhaling or swallowing water with toxins or from eating contaminated shellfish (that fed on the toxic phytoplankton).
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