The Toxic Art of Cyanobacteria

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    Cyanobacteria are great abstract painters. They're best known for the bright turquoise accent colors they use in compositions like this one at B.B. Clarke. They look like specs of paint or bright little plastic fragments floating in the water, but they are really clumps of blue-green algae. They're bad news in a lot of ways, as this CDC site makes clear. Adults usually have the sense to steer clear of them (although boaters are warned to check first before getting into the water to launch their boats) -- but children and pets do not. It goes without saying you need to watch young children near water, but also be sure to keep your dogs away from the water if there is any chance it may harbor blue-green algae.

    shiphome, MilkaWay, and Spinkitty2k added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Cybergabi 71 months ago | reply

      That's quite a colony you captured here. In our local ponds, they come back year after year when there's lots of heat and humidity (which has been the reality for the past 10 or so summers). The ponds are regularly supervised and usually get closed down for swimming because of the little buggers end of June latest.

    2. ibm4381 71 months ago | reply

      Ah yes, the famous bluegreen algae. They're what changed earth's atmosphere from reducing to oxidizing for the first billion or so years of life on earth, though, so without them we wouldn't be here.

    3. Angela Richardson - Artist 71 months ago | reply

      Totally gross but this capture is great. I think I see the algae mirroring your silhouette! It's talking to you, MG...

    4. KAP'n Craig 71 months ago | reply

      Ha ha I see it too. That is some nasty looking murp.

    5. Thompson Photography 71 months ago | reply

      Beautiful but deadly.

    6. shiphome 71 months ago | reply

      Definitely some nasty stuff. Wild, though... how stunningly beautiful even the most dangerous elements of nature can be.

      This is a gorgeous abstract, and good information. Glad that you did not fall in.. ;)

    7. Madison Guy 71 months ago | reply

      Check my blog Letter from Here's comments section for more detailed information from readers than I went into about blue-green algae -- what they are, the problems they cause, how humans have contributed to them and what can be done about them.

    8. Thompson Photography 71 months ago | reply

      Interesting comments on your blog. I had always considered them to be merely an aesthetic nuisance; was not aware of health ramifications. The algae has really taken hold at quite a number of Twin Cities area ponds and lakes; I hope that the park boards are making plans to combat it.

    9. î-löömîn Images [deleted] 71 months ago | reply

      Great find. Looks like the shape of some ancient bird viewed from up in the sky....maybe I'm just seeing things.

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