The old adage that one can have “too much of a good thing” is supported in spades by a phenomenon that is plaguing many waterways around the world. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous are integral to the healthy functioning of marine ecosystems, but are often raised to unnaturally high levels by human activities such as agriculture, lawn-fertilization, and sewage treatment. This overloading of nutrients into a body of water is called eutrophication. This environmental affliction is unpleasant for both humans and animals alike, and can even have lethal effects. As a result of eutrophication, many waterways suffer from harmful (toxic) algal blooms as well as hypoxia: a low-oxygen state in which few organisms can survive.
How do we combat this menace? Limiting nutrients at the source is one strategy—for example, using less or organic fertilizers would reduce the amount of nutrient runoff associated with agriculture and lawn-care. A second strategy is to clean up the problem downstream by using up these excess nutrients through the cultivation of seaweed! Continue reading “Eat Your [Sea] Vegetables! Fighting Eutrophication (Alaria recipe)”