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Korean Team Discovers New Organism Responsible for Red Tide in Southern Sea

Korean Team Discovers New Organism Responsible for Red Tide in Southern Sea

Posted May. 31, 2005 06:36,   


A Korean research team discovered a new kind of organism that causes red tide in the southern sea area.

The Red Tide Research Center of the Research Institute of Oceanography of Seoul National University announced on May 30 that it discovered a new kind of organism in the sea area around Masan, Gyeongnam and that international academia recently approved its DNA analysis on the organism which causes red tide.

The research team named the organism “stoeckeria algicida” after Diane Stoecker, a world-renowned professor of ocean ecosystems at Maryland University, and “algicida,” a Latin word meaning “to kill other organisms responsible for red tide.”

The research findings are expected to be run in the July issue of the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology (JEM), while a paper on the ecological characteristics of the organism is to be introduced in Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS).

The new creature is similar in size and shape to “pfiesteria,” a much-feared toxic creature that inflicted enormous damage in the U.S. fishery industry and caused the loss of human lives.

In Korea, pfiesteria caused some 100 million won worth of damage by giving rise to massive red tide in the coasts of Geoje to Masan, Gyeongnam, last June and July.

Jung Hae-jin of the Red Tide Research Center (a SNU professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences) said, “Stoeckeria algicida can multiply up to 20,000 units per cc of salt water. A study is underway as to whether it kills fish since it devours fish after sucking cells.”

Professor Jung went on to say, “Red tide organisms are spreading across the world through ballast water (water carried in tanks to maintain stability),” adding, “We need to draw up countermeasures because there are high possibilities that red tide will occur in the summer when the sea surface temperatures go up.”

Meanwhile, a research team led by Drs. Kim Sang-jin and Lee Jung-hyun of the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute discovered a new kind of germ that kills red tide organisms last March. The team introduced the new germ in a journal published by the British Society of Microbiology two months after naming it “kordia algicida.”