The Blob That Ate Toledo
Sorry, the title is from a weak resonance from an old B-grade sci-fi movie (in black and white, most likely) from the deep past. Â In Toledo’s case, the blob is a known entity: cyanobacteria.
In their earliest remnant forms, cyanobacteria–or Blue Green Algae–grew in these blobby shapes called stromatolites that you see in the image above.
You’ll find them prominently featured in the early chapters ofÂ freshman biology texts, because we creditÂ them with the early colonization of the land and the productionÂ of anÂ atmosphere with increasing amounts of oxygen from their photosynthetic way of making a living.
And now, some billion years after those early blobs, the Blue-Greens have come back to impact life on earth again in a significant and news-worthy way.
You’re hearing a lot about the situation we’ve created in Lake Erie by over-feeding the BGs there with too much phosphorus, mostly from agricultural run-off. The toxins released into the water have necessitated draconian limits to the use of the water for almost a half-million people.
What I did NOT know until the past few days (and with not enough time with everything else going on to dig very deep) is THIS connection to BG’s and human health: they may be implicated in Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS. Â I offer a few sources for your perusal. Â And consider the potential ultimate cost ofÂ “agriculture as usual.”