In this Mar. 3, 2017 photo, green algae swirls on the beach of Bandar al-Jissah in Oman. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)
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The Gulf of Oman turns green twice a year, when an algae bloom the size of Mexico spreads across the Arabian Sea all the way to India. Scientists who study the algae say the microscopic organisms are thriving in new conditions brought about by climate change, and displacing the zooplankton that underpin the local food chain, threatening the entire marine ecosystem.The swarms of microscopic creatures beneath the surface of the Gulf of Oman were all but invisible 30 years ago – now they form giant, murky shapes that can be seen from satellites.For the past 15 years, observatory biogeochemist Joaquim Goes, al-Hashmi and biological oceanographer Helga do Rosario Gomes have tracked blooms in the Arabian Sea using boats, satellites and remote sensors.The algae blooms pose a number of threats to Oman, whose fishing and trading ships have plied these waters for centuries.Marine ecologist Ahmad al-Alawi adds these reports to four decades of observations before comparing them with satellite images of the swirling chlorophyll.He says the blooms are growing bigger and lasting longer, displacing the zooplankton at the bottom of the local food chain.
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