Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Blob

Here comes the Blob! Swim for your lives!

Scientists will begin probing waters off Nova Scotia in search of a slimy creature they believe is slithering north and could be blanketing some of Canada’s richest fishing grounds.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey plan to head out today to a vast area over the Canadian portion of Georges Bank to look for a colony of sea squirts nicknamed the Blob for its icky texture and habit of covering almost everything in its path.

“It’s something new. It covers up the bottom and it forms a barrier between fish and what fish feed on, so logically you’d think it could be a problem,” said Page Valentine, a scientist with the agency. “At some point, it could get so pervasive that everybody will realize we’ve got a problem out there, and it’ll be too late.”

Valentine discovered the organism, a simple tunicate with no skeleton that filters plankton, in 2002 on the U.S. side of Georges Bank. He returned in 2003 and found that it was covering an area of at least 15 square kilometres. A year later, a thick carpet of the porridge-like goop had spread over more than 104 square kilometres.

Source: Halifax Daily News

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