A thick, viscous, mucus-like substance that is colloquially called "sea snot" is spreading across the surface of Turkey's Sea of Marmara. Scientists have warned that the appearance of the mysterious substance is due to the warming temperature brought by climate change.

A similar event also happened in 2007 when the Sea of Marmara was also covered with sea snot. But like this year, it could also be due to the warming temperatures of the ocean.

Most of the time, sea snots are not harmful, but experts said that this time is not one of those cases. They believe that the sea snot covering the Turkish sea could pose serious harm to the marine life below.

What Caused the Formation of the Sea Snot?

According to ZME Science, algae and phytoplankton are floating sea plants that are crucial in oxygenating the ocean. They photosynthesize with the sun's help and release oxygen as a by-product to oxygenate the waters around them. However, too many algae and phytoplankton could have the opposite effect.

They could release a viscous or sticky mucus-like substance that can cover a large area of the sea. The case of the current sea snot on the Sea of Marmara appears to be the result of prolonged warm temperatures and calm weather on a surface where nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are abundant in the water.

These nutrients have long been present in the Turkish sea, which gets the wastewater of more than 20 million people in Turkey and comes from the Balck Sea. The sea snot has been seen for 14 years since 2007, but experts said that this year is the largest ever seen in Turkey.

The sea snot started to form in December last year and has been bothering fishermen who had a hard time casting their nets to catch fish.

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How Dangerous is the Sea Snot on the Sea of Marmara

Dr. Neslihan Özdelice, a marine biologist at Istanbul University, said that most cases of sea snot are not harmful. But this year's sea snout is not one of those cases.

The mucus-like substance per se is not necessarily harmful, but it could become a host to toxic microorganisms and pathogens like E. Coli that is harmful to marine life, The Washington Post reported.

More so, the thick mass of sea snot could set off a harmful chain of events as it continues to cover the water's surface. It could prevent fish from being able to breathe, which could lead to mass die-offs that would then cause plummeting of oxygen levels that would choke other marine organisms.

According to marine biologist Dr. Barış Özalp of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, the mucus was damaging to the corals and other immobile organisms as it wraps and kills them.

Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reported that the sea snot could be found blanketing corals nearly 100 feet below the surface and smothering them. The problem has become bigger as a large beige carpet of sea snot has covered the coastline of Istanbul despite the warning from fishermen a few months ago. Some of them are even unable to work since the mucus appeared.

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