Green Slime

I’m educated as a biologist and geologist and took several graduate courses in invertebrate paleontology.  As a result, every crack pot that knows me invariably at one time or another calls to my attention 1) an arthropod in a jar, 2) a weird-ass fungi, 3) an odd rock which is usually a piece of slag or bog hematite not a meteorite, or 4) a really strange website.  I have responded to the question “What is this?” at least 3,486 times and I have positively identified Garden Spider’s (Argiope aurantia) in 5 States.  They are not “banana spiders” and don’t kill children.  I’ve seen a lot of weird animals —the freshwater flatworm Planaria is right up there.  You can cut it up into little bits and it grows a new body. Here’s a Japanese land version: http://natural-japan.net/?cat=32aa.

So be my friend Jeff, who’s a geologist and turned me on to this really weird natural phenomena in Lake Huron. They are green brown slimey microbial mats living on the floors of submerged sinkholes in Lake Huron. In the deepest sinkholes the groundwater venting into them is of a different chemistry than the lake water. This creates a measurable chemical differential and “nepheloid” layer.  Nephewhat?  Yeah, I had to look it up too (http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/17_2/17.2_agrawal_box.pdf).

Image from NOAA

It’s from the Greek root Nephos for cloud. It’s a cloudy layer. It is visible when an ROV descends into the deepest of the sinkholes.  The mats are capable of performing both photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. Gases trapped beneath the mats cause mat columns adding to the eeriness of the scene. Download and watch the video: Sinkhole Video

Thanks Jeff!

http://www.gvsu.edu/wri/biddanda/ecology-of-submerged-sinkholes-7.htm

http://www.gvsu.edu/wri/biddanda/research-8.htm

One Response to “Green Slime”

  1. Awesome post, fantastic stuff

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