|I seem to recall reading somewhere that crystal
clear sea water was not actually a good indicator
of a healthy environment from a wildlife
perspective. My understanding is that crystal
clear water is that way because it contains no
sediment/nutrients (which make the water cloudy)
and therefore, nothing for microbial life to
consume. This in turn feeds up the food chain
meaning that, while clear water appears ideal from
a human perspective, the reverse is actually true
and that it is bad from an ecological point of view?
Can you confirm this?
While clear water may signal an unhealthy
ecosystem in some cases, it is not always the
case. For example, many coral reefs are known
for their clear waters and large biodiversity.
However, when an external force acts to change the
water clarity, either in fresh or salt water, it
can hurt the environment. For example, the
zebra mussel is an invasive species that is
threatening many freshwater lakes and rivers. This
creature filters algae and bacteria from the water
for food, which can threaten the native fish
population and upset the ecosystem.
It is certainly true that crystal-clear water
does not contain some things that are in cloudy
water, and that some of those things are important
for an ecosystem. On the other hand, some
important components of seawater will not give it
color--many solutes, such as salt, cleanly
dissolve into water and become colorless. And not
all things that make the water cloudy will be good
for the wildlife. For example, oil spills are
devastating to wildlife.
In the end, it really comes down to what needs
to be in the water for the local wildlife to
thrive. Some of these things might give the water
no color, and some of them might make it cloudy.
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