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June 04, 2021     Post 126
Beach Combing for Science

It may be a weedy summer- at least on the bays and near shore on the lake. This year the rooted vegetation and the algae seem to be getting off to an early start. Last week I noticed quite an accumulation of the hairy green filamentous algae called Chladophora that grows on rocks in the lake’s shallows. When waves tear it off the rocks some of it washes ashore or ends up on the bottom and rots creating a good environment for toxic botulina bacteria to flourish in. Hot weather helps the fermentation process along. (For more on how that works check out Chapter Ten in my newest book A Natural History of Lake Ontario, being released in early July by Arcadia Press.)

DEC wants to know more about Chladophora so if you want to join a useful citizen science project you’ll find an excellent explanation, photos, and other information as to why this matters to our lake posted at this website.


Here is a quote from the site:

“We currently have limited understanding of exactly where and when excessive amounts of Cladophora are accumulating along New York's Great Lakes shorelines after detaching from the nearshore lake bottom surface where it grows. Information collected through public observations will help better inform agencies and researchers.”

Many readers of the Log also probably know about HAB (Hazardous Algae Blooms) and reporting of same. People on the large protected bays ( Sodus, Irondequoit, Burlington Toronto Harbor etc) should be particularly alert this summer. If trends continue- (hot weather with occassional heavy down pours to wash lots of nutrients into the water). Blue green blooms can also occur in the open waters of the lake. Look for the ‘green paint’ effect near shore or in channels and use the link below.


For the filamentous algae reports there is a form to make your report and e-mail to GLCladophora@dec.ny.gov. The information collected will complement ongoing monitoring and modeling efforts that aim to provide a better understanding of where, when, and the extent to which, Cladophora is accumulating along the Great Lakes shorelines.

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