Pat Shingleton Column

"Sea Foam-Not for Swimming"

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Posted: Jan 29, 2013 6:42 PM by Pat Shingleton

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Topics: Sea-Foam, Contains organic matter, Algal Blooms

Seawater is loaded with dissolved salts, proteins, fats, dead algae and is laced with organic matter. That organic matter constitutes sea creature excrement. Collecting seawater in a beaker and shaking it creates surface bubbles. On Monday you may have noticed kids in Australia romping in five-foot waves of sea foam which occurred when the ocean was agitated by a combination of wind and waves. Each coast manufactures its foam in different ways and algae blooms create thick sea foams, similar to shaving cream. When the blooms decay offshore the algal matter wash ashore, churned by the surf. Most sea foam does not affect humans however, along the Gulf Coast; blooms of Karenia brevis create airborne toxins from sea foam bubbles. The aerosol irritates eyes and causes respiratory afflictions.

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