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If you find this weird, gelatinous blob in a Michigan lake, it's a good sign

If you’re out on a lake this summer and you stumble on a blob that looks like an alien life form, it could actually be a good thing.

Jo Latimore got an email recently about a weird-looking greenish-gray gelatinous blob that a boater found in Juno Lake in Cass County. Latimore is an aquatic ecologist at Michigan State University.

She says she got an email from the boater saying, “We found something that’s pretty gross attached to the bottom of one of our pontoon boats and we’re afraid of what it might be.”

“They were concerned about invasive species or something that shouldn’t be in their lake, and so they came to me to find out what this blob might be,” says Latimore.

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She says the photos she got in the email showed several blobs about the size of volleyballs.

“I took a look at the photos and immediately recognized that it was a colony of bryozoans, which are an interesting creature that live in our lakes, here in Michigan and elsewhere, but often go unnoticed,” says Latimore.

She says bryozoans are small, microscopic animals that live in water. Most of them live in the oceans, but we have just a few species that live in freshwater. Bryozoans live in colonies, and they’re filter feeders, so they eat algae and other small creatures.

They’re native to our region – and even better, they require clean water, so if you find them in your lake, that’s a good sign.

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You can listen to the interview with Jo Latimore above, and read a blog post she wrote here.

Rebecca Williams is senior editor in the newsroom, where she edits stories and helps guide news coverage.
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