Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Freshwater algae identification, information and action resource up and running

Friday 31 Jan 2014

<em>Micrasterias</em>, Lake Rotoiti, X320

Micrasterias, Lake Rotoiti, X320

A new website hosted by Landcare Research will assist members of the community to find, collect, and identify freshwater algae.

Researcher Phil Novis says freshwater algae are natural, essential, and often beautiful inhabitants of lakes, ponds, wetlands, and streams.  However, they can also cause problems when they occur in abundance, resulting in toxin production or unsightly growths, and may be obvious indicators of contamination.

The website was initiated by Stephen Moore, a gifted entomologist and science communicator who tragically died after a long battle with cancer, before he could see its completion. Stephen wrote that “this website will be useful to anyone interested in observing and identifying algae, and who has access to a compound microscope - even a very basic one. It’s aimed at the level of community groups with little previous knowledge, such as school classes or volunteer groups.”

Phil says the identification key, with illustrated glossary, will enable users to detect nuisance algae, such as potentially toxic cyanobacteria or Didymo, and will help people explore this fascinating – and incredibly diverse – microscopic world.

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