The Mysterious Case of the Slimy Algae: what we know – and don’t – about the ‘Lake Snot’ invading Queenstown lakes

November 23, 2016

The invasive didymo and more recent lake snot recently found in Lake Wakatipu share characteristics – but there is one difference that makes lake snot more problematic, University of Otago freshwater scientist, Dr Marc Schallenberg says.

Both are diatoms (a type of algae) with long polysaccharide threads made of chiton that they secrete. Didymo’s tail is cotton-like and not sticky. With lake snot, the threads form a sticky slime of greater nuisance value – clogging water filters and sticking onto swimmers, fishing gear and boats – that could potentially be less susceptible to chemical control, protected from treatment agents by its cover of slime.

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