Sea Lions and Algae Bloom UPSC NOTE


Sea Lions

  • Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, short and thick hair, and a big chest and belly. 

  • The sea lions have six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion) in five genera.

  • Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean.

  • They have an average lifespan of 20–30 years. 

  • They are known for their semi-aquatic lifestyle.

  • Sea lions are carnivorous and primarily feed on fish, such as herring, anchovies, sardines, and squid.

  • Currently, there are six subspecies of sea lions: Australian sea lions, California sea lions, Galapagos sea lions, New Zealand sea lions, South American sea lions, and Steller sea lions.

Algae Bloom

  • An algal bloom or algae bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems. 

  • It is often recognized by the discoloration in the water from the algae's pigments.

  • Algal bloom commonly refers to the rapid growth of microscopic unicellular algae, not macroscopic algae.

    • An example of a macroscopic algal bloom is a kelp forest.

  • Algal blooms are the result of a nutrient, like nitrogen or phosphorus from various sources (for example fertilizer runoff or other forms of nutrient pollution), entering the aquatic system and causing excessive growth of algae. 

  • An algal bloom affects the whole ecosystem.

Impacts of Algal bloom:

  • Blocking sunlight from reaching other organisms, causing a depletion of oxygen levels in the water, and, depending on the organism, secreting toxins into the water. 

  • Blooms that can injure animals or the ecology, especially those blooms where toxins are secreted by the algae, are usually called "harmful algal blooms" (HAB), and can lead to fish die-offs, cities cutting off water to residents, or states having to close fisheries. 

  • The process of the oversupply of nutrients leading to algae growth and oxygen depletion is called eutrophication.

Why it is in news?

  • A recent outbreak of algae bloom - commonly known as red tide - has sickened and killed an unknown number of sea lions and dolphins.

  • Marine biologists are paying close attention because they consider sea lions a sentinel species - animals that can help identify environmental risks to humans.

  • The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute reported 1,000 sightings of sick and dead marine mammals from 2023 June 8 through 14.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Sea Lions and Algae Bloom UPSC NOTE
Sea Lions and Algae Bloom UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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