We love our trail steward Laura Cleveland for keeping Highland Research Forest trails and privy spiffy and cleared of branches and trash. She also lets us know when something looks wicked weird and sent pictures of an algae bloom in the wetland cove.
She even ventured so far as to pick it up with her hands and said it felt rubbery…Ewww.
Maggie and Ben went out to collect a sample and got it under the microscope, as good scientists do, and identified Nostoc, a kind of cyanobacteria that grows in colonies surrounded by a jelly-like sheath. Nature is pretty darn cool.
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic organisms that can produce biologically active secondary metabolites, which can be toxic to humans and animals. Do we know if this Nostoc bloom is toxic? No, we don’t; we don’t test for cyanobacteria toxins at LEA. But we will say don’t let your dog swim there, and we told Laura to stop sticking her hand in it. If you have some cool pictures you’d like to share please pass them on! Thanks Laura!