Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New video on Cladophora

What is Cladophora?

During the past seven years, heaps of rotting algae have piled up on some beaches of Lake Michigan. The powerful stench turns inviting beaches into wastelands. Walking is difficult, swimming is unthinkable, and mere breathing turns the stomach.

The offending plant is Cladophora, a common filamentous green alga. Growing on submerged rocks, it looks like long green hair waving in the water. Cladophora is an important component of freshwater ecosystems, providing food and shelter for invertebrates and small fish. The recent excessive blooms in the Great Lakes, however, signal an ecosystem responding to both natural changes and human impacts.

Check out UW Sea Grant's video about the problem, its causes, and solutions.