Gangs of algae are known to be active in the coastal ocean around Alaska.
IN ALASKAN WATERS
How well can you identify them using these official gang descriptions?
Coastal and open ocean. Aggressively recruiting in spring, even under sea ice.
LAST KNOWN LOCATION:
This gang is widespread with at least 198 different chapters worldwide (Algal Unit, INTERPOL). Individuals hide out singly in the winter but begin to congregate in large numbers in the spring, rapidly inducting new members and growing in size. Gang members can be identified by their characteristic long, spiky hair.
Coastal and open ocean. Active in spring & early summer.
Members are found in groups of small numbers up to hundreds with little or no organization. Gang members stick together using a thick layer of slime for protection. Phaeocystis gangs are known to ‘cook’ dimethyl sulfide (DMS) possibly for self-protection given its strong disagreeable odor. Algal INTERPOL places Phaeocystis on their international environmental watchlist because this DMS is an atmospheric contaminant strongly implicated in the formation of clouds.
‘The Golden Algae’
This gang travels in small groups of up to 50 individuals that arrange themselves in spreading fans. May or may not display their characteristic golden colors depending on the presence of manganese and iron. Dinobryon gangs also can ‘cook’ toxins that are identified by an unpleasant fishy odor. Dinobryon is on Algal INTERPOL’s environmental watchlist because these toxins have been implicated in the death of fish.
Mostly coastal ocean and sea ice, but also seen in freshwater. Most active in summer.
Coastal and open ocean, upper water column. Aggressive in spring, even under ice.
This Diatom sub-gang is readily identified by its high level of organization: members ride their cycles in short, regular chains with each bike connected to the next by a single, thin thread. Gangs grow quickly in numbers in the spring. At least 121 different sub-chapters of this gang known to occur worldwide.
Individual members ride long, needle-like motorcycles but attach themselves to each to form characteristic shapes resembling zig-zags, accordions, or stars when riding on highways.
Coastal and open ocean, upper water column. Can be active in late fall & early winter.
Members of this gang are readily identified by the three horns always seen on their large jackets, which are armored for protection. Gang members are always operate alone, except when recruiting new members. This gang is most active later in the year, after other gangs have come and gone earlier in the spring and summer.
Coastal and upper ocean, late fall & early winter.
I thought all the gangs had left for the year, Officer, until this guy showed up in town. He was big: he had on this heavy armored jacket and what looked like three large spikes at his shoulders and back. I got the impression he rode alone.
Who did it?Select the mugshot.
Who did it?Select the mugshot.
I don’t know, Officer – it happened so fast. All I can remember was that there were a lot of them, riding in long curvy chains, and they all had long spiky hair.
That’s not our guy.
It was dark, Officer, so I couldn’t see very well. It looked like they had been operating some kind of chemical facility and I remember smelling a strong sulfur smell after they all had left.
They were all wearing these bright golden jackets: all fifty or sixty of them. They rode their bikes in a big spreading fan.
I’ve never seen anything like it, Officer. These guys were riding their bikes all attached to one another in small groups of four or five, but making strange shapes like stars or accordions.
It was scary, Officer, these guys were so organized. They all rode in a straight single file, regularly spaced one after another. I couldn’t tell any of them apart.
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the North Pacific Research Board, 2015
NPRB Project #1222