A type of algae has begun to spread in the Great Lakes region with rapid growth and strong resistance to eradication.
Scientists do not know much about the algae weed, but they have decided to hurry to know more about this species.
This plant, which creates very dense layers on the surfaces of lakes, first appeared in North America in 1978 on the Saint Lawrence River in NY State.
Investigators believe that it quite possibly came in the water from the ballasts of ships that entered the Great Lakes.
The seaweed did not cause concern for about 30 years in contrast to today.
It has now spread on the lower peninsula of Michigan, where it has infested more than 200 inland lakes, and parts of western New York.
That plant was first found back in 2014 within Wisconsin waters and in 2015 in Minnesota lakes.
It has also been detected in lakes in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Vermont and even Canada.
WHAT IS THE ALGA NITELLOPSIS OBTUSA?
Nittelopsis obtusa has a six-pointed star on the stems. This plant is considered beneficial and even an endangered species in Europe and Asia, where it first originated. However for some reason it became aggressive in the United States waters.
WHY IS IT A CONCERN NOW?
The layers that create these algae on the surface can be a nuisance for those who use boats and for small boat fishermen. Scientists are also concerned about possible damage to native plants and fish habitat as well as creating disturbances to aquatic ecosystems.
“It is difficult to kill with herbicides because it lacks a vascular system that can spread the venom to the entire plant, underscored invasive species” specialist Dan Larkin of the University of Minnesota stated.
HOW IS IT PROPAGATED?
This algae reproduces when it breaks into fragments and can travel free in boats or trailers to those who have come in contact with it on the waters.
The most recent findings of this type of algae have been concentrated near public accesses such as boat ramps.
“Scientists do not yet know how long these type of algae can survive out of the water”, Larkin said.
HOW TO CONTROL IT?
It is difficult to control. Wisconsin has had some effectiveness using the costly DASH method (Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting). Divers pull the algae by hand and throw it into a large diameter suction hose.
However, the best strategy is prevention. Authorities have urged boat owners to remove plants and mud from their boats and equipment in order to prevent spreading.