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Plankton crash

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH


Context: A panel formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) investigated the red colouration of the sea in Puducherry and attributed it to a plankton crash.

  • A specific species of phytoplankton, Noctiluca scintillans, was found to be ruptured, releasing red pigment into the sea.
  • The panel ruled out algal bloom and contamination from a nearby paper manufacturing unit, stating that the unit’s operations did not coincide with the discolouration incidents.
  • Instead, the panel identified high iron concentration as a potential factor favouring plankton bloom.
  • Environmental parameters such as sea surface temperature, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen were found conducive to the proliferation of this species.


A plankton crash is when a dramatic bloom of plankton in a pond is replaced by very few viable plankton. This can be caused by a lack of nutrients or CO2

Dead plankton can create large amounts of stable foam on the surface of the pond.