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Blue-green algae spotted in Bonita Springs, concerns beachgoers

Posted at 2:03 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 14:03:43-04

Blue-green algae was found in Bonita Springs over the weekend. And people headed to the beach weren't happy.

“It’s almost like over-cooked spinach,” Scientist Michael Parsons with Florida Gulf Coast University said.

But this spinach is not the kind you’d want for dinner. “It is very stinky,” Parsons said. This type of blue-green algae is different than the type that invaded Cape Coral’s waterways this summer.

“This is more of a marine one,” he said. “And so it lives in salt water whereas the one in Cape Coral’s a freshwater one.” As a professor, Parsons is studying the blooms because several people who live nearby went to him with concerns about it.

“Basically my guess is it’s Oscillatoria which is a benthic one and lives down at the bottom,” Parsons said. “And periodically it just lifts off the bottom and starts floating on the surface.” 
So why not?

“It was too happy,” Parsons said. “They probably were growing really well and photosynthesizing a lot, producing too much oxygen and that’s what floated them up to the surface.” He also said excessive rain could be a factor.

“The rain that came in, that level of nutrients allowed a big build up of this also mat and there was a big amount of this algae that lifted off the bottom and floated to the surface,” Parsons said.

While it’s not making beachgoers too happy, Parsons said don’t be too alarmed. He advised to just stay away from it.

“Just don’t swim - if it’s really stinky don’t try to tolerate through it,” he said.