GALLOWAY - A New Jersey marine science professor says the blooming of tiny marine plants off the coast of southern New Jersey has caused the waters to become a shade of aquamarine.

Elizabeth Lacey, assistant professor of marine science at Stockton University in Galloway, tells the Press of Atlantic City the phytoplankton population grew rapidly last week due to a recent upward flow of cool ocean water.

Lacey says the plants reflect turquoise-green wavelengths through the water, particularly in the sunlight. She says the bloom is harmless to people.

Lacey says the Phytoplankton blossom when cool, nutrient-rich water rises to the surface. Most of the plants aren't bigger than the dot of a pencil.

The water has become even clearer due to an ongoing drought in the area.