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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?
Question Date: 2016-07-20
Answer 1:

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.

Answer 2:

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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