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What can be done to stop lake snot? – Dr Marc Schallenberg

Posted in Reflections On Science on June 20th, 2016.

We need to fund more research into an algae clogging southern lakes says University of Otago’s Dr Marc Schallenberg on

An excerpt (read in full here):

What can be done to stop lake snot?

Scientists need more funding to understand the degrading phenomenon of lake snot, now spreading through our southern lakes. MARC SCHALLENBERG explains.

It’s like something you might encounter in a nightmare.

You’re swimming fish-like through the crystal-clear waters of a deep lake. Suddenly you notice that the clear blue water contains bits of almost clear mucous floating in it. As you swim on, the mucous starts sticking to you and then you’re covered in a thin coating of slime before you start panicking and wake up from your dream in a cold sweat.

Unfortunately, this scenario could actually happen today if you went swimming in some of our most pristine and majestic South Island lakes.

Starting around 2004, people fishing in Lake Wanaka began noticing an unusual slime sticking to their fishing lines and lures – something they’d never seen before. In 2008, the University of Otago lakes research team identified the newly observed, almost transparent, mucous particles in Lake Wanaka’s water as a rare phenomenon called “lake snow” and they linked it to the presence of a new algae found in the lake waters called Cyclotella bodanica (recently renamed by algologists as Lindavia intermedia).

Keep reading…

Dr Schallenberg’s team has also produced a video describing the rise of lake snot in the South.

The Unusual Snow of Lake Wanaka from Asher Flatt on Vimeo.

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