Anna Bolm, a phytoplankton ecologist at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, took this photograph through a microscope while examining a sample of the brown water recently collected at Newport’s Nye Beach. “It looks like the surf zone diatom Asterionellopsis socialis is doing pretty well for itself along our shores,” she said. “It reminds me of when stonecrop blooms, or even the daffodils that are starting to show.”

Brown water seen recently in the surf at Newport’s Nye Beach has been attributed to a heavy presence of surf zone diatoms in that area, according to a researcher at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in South Beach.

Anna Bolm, a phytoplankton ecologist at Hatfield, sampled the water at Nye Beach shortly after the brown water was first observed. When examining the sample under a microscope, she verified the presence of diatoms, a type of plankton, “which can accumulate for a number of reasons — increase in nutrient levels, increase in sunlight, changes in wind patterns, etc.,” she said.

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