NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodCape Coral


Mystery Solved: The surprising benefit of Cape Coral's algae bloom

It faded nearly as quickly as it spread in southeast side canal last week
Posted at 9:59 PM, Feb 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-12 21:59:06-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A recent algae outbreak in a Cape Coral canal has caught the attention of local neighbors. The canal, located at the intersection of Country Club and Veteran's Memorial Parkway, was filled with a noticeable green substance that has now almost completely disappeared four days later.

We collected samples of the algae to be analyzed by Dr. Barry Rosen, a researcher and professor at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), who identified the substance as Pithophora, a type of algae similar to green plants in its ability to photosynthesize and produce oxygen.

Dr. Rosen explained that Pithophora is beneficial to the environment.

"It probably trapped oxygen from photosynthesis, and as it does that, enough oxygen builds up in that mat, it can come up and looks like it all comes up at once," he said.

This process can make it appear as though the algae blooms suddenly, but it's actually a sign of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

The algae's presence is a positive indicator, according to Dr. Rosen.

"It's actually a very healthy organism, that should be in there, it's soaking up the nutrients that might be in the canal making it unavailable for potential harmful algal blooms," he added.

Local neighbors, like Debbie Martin, have mixed feelings about the algae. After learning about its benefits for the canal's ecosystem, opinions seem to be changing.

"After hearing it does good for the animals in this canal, I don't know, it evens out," Martin stated.

Both turtles and manatees were present in the canal since the algae subsided.

While the algae might not be visually appealing to everyone, it contributes to maintaining a healthy environment along the Cape Coral waterways.