The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 27, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Valley shop joints harvest program


Rock snot on the move

What could be worse than "Rock Snot?" How about "Sea Snot?" According to National Geographic, a slimy combination of dead plankton, gelatinous sea creatures and their feces fall to the ocean floor and become nutritious food for deep-sea organisms. National Geographic scientists found that shortly after the "sea snot" drifted to the bottom of the ocean, the activity of the deep-sea creatures increased. The most active part of the ocean is its surface which is where algae and phytoplankton use the sun's energy to photosynthesize.

Jellyfish-like animals called sea salps feed on the phytoplankton. The sea salps and their supper eventually die and sink to the ocean's floor creating the gooey sea snot. Just so you know, this research on sea snot is being conducted about 145 miles west of the coast of California between Santa Barbara and Monterey. Much closer to home, staff from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission staff have documented another outbreak of rock snot or Didymosphenia geminate in the West Branch of Pine Creek in Potter County. This means that Didymo has migrated from the main stem of Pine Creek, near Waterville in Lycoming County. Our local "snot" is a highly invasive alga that has caused environmental concerns worldwide. As a reminder, if you have fished, boated or come in contact with rock snot-infected waterways, you are encouraged to disinfect your gear to prevent this invasive from spreading.

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