Seagulls

In a letter Friday, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian reminded residents not to feed the sea gulls, describing the thieving birds as "aggressive" and a potential public safety hazard. 

In a letter Friday, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian reminded residents not to feed the sea gulls, describing the thieving birds as “aggressive” and a potential public safety hazard.

Sea gulls on the Ocean City Boardwalk are notorious for swooping down and swiping visitors’ fries and pizza crusts, and this summer, Gillian says officials have seen an increase in incidents.

In his letter, the mayor warned residents that feeding the gulls is against the law in Ocean City (and has been since 2016).

Gillian said he is asking Boardwalk businesses to provide enclosed containers for takeout, and exploring the possibility of netting and noise to deter the birds.

“Cut off this easy and unnatural food supply. That means not just refraining from feeding them, but protecting your food from them,” Gillian said. “Please understand that you can’t hit them or throw things at them. But you can help by keeping food away from them.”

Algae-killing viruses give the ocean nutrients

A Rutgers University-led study found viruses can kill single-celled marine algae called diatoms, and that in turn can provide nutrients and organic matter for recycling by other algae.

Diatoms generate about 20% of the Earth’s oxygen and help store carbon dioxide in the ocean.

The study was published in the journal Nature Microbiology. It also showed that environmental conditions, such as warming waters from climate change, can speed up diatom mortality from viral infections.

“Diatom populations may be terminated by viruses,” senior author Kim Thamatrakoln, associate research professor in Rutgers’ Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, said in a news release. “When silicon levels in the ocean are low, diatoms can be more rapidly infected and killed by viruses and are then more likely to release their nutrients and other matter in the surface ocean instead of sinking.”

Contact: 609-272-7258 azoppo@pressofac.com Twitter @AvalonZoppo

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