(ORDO NEWS) — Excessive exposure of underwater Marimo algae balls to sunlight could lead to a decline in the population of this endangered species, scientists at the University of Tokyo (Japan) said. They conducted a study and came to disappointing conclusions.
Climate change is causing rare underwater algae balls to be exposed to too much sunlight. As a result, Marimo – green algae formed into balls – die.
The largest of them grow in Lake Akan in Japan. These algae are usually protected from excessive winter sunlight by a layer of ice and snow, but global warming is thinning this protection.
The study showed that algae can withstand bright light for up to four hours and recover when placed in twilight for 30 minutes.
However, prolonged exposure to bright light for six hours or more results in the death of Marimo.
Many aquarium lovers breed Marimo at home. Algae are soft green balls ranging in size from a pea to a basketball.
They form when strands of the algae Aegagropila linnaei are twisted together by the movement of water in a lake.
Marimo are only found in a few countries, and the largest ones, which can be up to 30 centimeters in diameter, can be found in Lake Akan in Japan.
As reported in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Marimo has a great cultural significance in Japan. There is even an annual festival dedicated to this algae.
Their survival depends on nutrients and photosynthesis, as well as human impact on the freshwater lakes where the Marimo grow.
The scientists hope the study will help local and national governments understand the importance of protecting the unique Japanese Marimo and its habitat.
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