The world is filled with some amazing, inspiring and
sometimes gross, natural processes that help to maintain or rebalance
ecosystems from time to time.
Four of the natural processes you may see around Gladstone
are: turbidity, coral spawning, seagrass flowering or a marine algal bloom.
Marine algal blooms are large, brightly coloured patches of
algae that float on top of the water and usually occur along Queensland’s
coastline from August to September. These patches have a milky or slick
appearance, but don’t worry – they aren’t oil spills!
Coral spawning is one of the ways corals reproduce, and
occurs when corals simultaneously release their eggs and sperm into the ocean.
Seagrass flowering is a similar process in which male seagrasses release pollen
into ocean currents to moves with the waves until it drifts past and fertilises
a female seagrass flower.
Turbidity is perhaps the most common and visible natural
process and is a term used to describe how clear the water is. Turbidity is
caused by various bits of matter floating in the water column – and the more of
these particles there are the murkier, or more turbid, the water is.
In Gladstone Harbour, tides and tidal ranges have a big
influence on turbidity. A strong tidal current can lift up (or resuspend) fine
sediment (dirt, rocks and sand) from the ocean floor giving the water a dirty