Toxic Algal Bloom
Marie-Julie Bourgeois & Pauline Hegaret
Marie-Julie Bourgeois is a digital artist. Her research focuses on physical and perceptual human activities. She questions our relationship to technology and natural rhythms.
Pauline Hegaret is a digital and visual artist. She creates devices that question our relationship to the world through the prism of cultural, cognitive and sensory anthropology.
The project is a scientific collaboration with Hélène Hégaret, CNRS Researcher at the Laboratory of Sciences of the Sea Environnement LEMAR. She is specialized in Physiology, bivalve interactions, toxic microalgae.
The acidification of the ocean has reached an unprecedented level, these biochemical changes have impacts on ecosystems and on climate change. Proliferation depends on acidity, pollutants (nitrates, phosphates, etc.), exposure to light, temperature, salinity, etc. During the months of March and April 2021, massive bloom episodes are occurring in Chile and California. In Chile the purple water is causing the death of millions of animals through hypoxia, while in California the red tide is producing bio-luminescent waves at night. These phenomena are also caused by climate change, as well as other variables: warming of the water, upwelling, currents, sediments, nitrogenous discharges (nitrate, ammonia, nitrogen) linked to human activities. In 2021, it is the La Niña phenomenon that causes the upwelling phenomenon (the rise of nutrients to the surface) that allows the emergence of these blooms of dizzying dimensions.
This video shows the stimulation of the bloom in the laboratory by different types of sound waves and the generation of effects and geometric light forms. The recordings are made in very low light, or illuminated by an inactinic lamp, tinting the bloom slightly red, as in the daytime. These videos are made thanks to the research laboratory of the ecophysiologist and biologist Hélène Hegaret, a specialist in toxic algal blooms.
Toxic Algal Bloom
Ocean acidification has reached unprecedented levels, and these biochemical changes are having an impact on ecosystems and climate change. Algal bloom shows an aquarium experiment where toxic algae colonise marine ecosystems. The proliferation depends on acidity, pollutants (nitrates, phosphates, etc.), exposure to light, temperature, salinity… The variation of these parameters in culture shows the behaviour of the algae and their development. This process of proliferation and coloration is perceptible in these living and evolving pictures.
The cohabitation of toxic algae, of different species as well as non-toxic algae causes a biological competition visible to the naked eye and accelerated. To this mixture of algae are added particles allowing the fertilisation of the oceans that geo-engineering projects are experimenting with in the atmosphere to try to solve the problems linked to climate change. One of the solutions proposed by geoengineering is to increase the biomass of carbon-fixing organisms to stimulate photosynthesis produced mainly by ocean phytoplankton. But these projects have side effects that can disrupt the balance of ecosystems. The ambiguity of such a process is visible in a small-scale aquarium and gives us time to imagine this behaviour on a larger scale.