Dust from the Saharan desert is bringing needed iron and other nutrients to underwater plants in the Caribbean, but bacteria may be the first thing to prosper from that dust.
The dust is causing the bacteria to bloom and also become more toxic to humans and marine organisms.
"This has been going on for a long time, but nobody understood it," said Florida State University Professor of Chemical Oceanography William Landing, a co-author on a new paper outlining the effect of the dust. "It's a natural phenomenon."
The new research was published in the May 9 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.