Monday, July 20, 2009

Filamentous algae?

So everybody got pretty excited last week about a big black glob floating out in the Chukchi Sea. If you didn't read the article, here it is: No one had seen this type of thing before. Wainwright hunters called it "thick, dark and gooey."

Had my 5 year old niece been there, she could have told them what it was. While she was visiting, it was her job to clean that "thick, dark and gooey" stuff out of the fish pond. She put her little hand into the water and started pulling---kind of like mozarella cheese after a bite of pizza. It pulls and pulls until it finally lets go and you have a fist full of algae, which we put on the other garden plants for a little organic fertilizer.

So the questions that everyone is asking are: why was there 15 miles of it and why had no one seen it before? I can only tell you my experience. When my pond is getting too much sun, it grows like crazy. It would fill up the whole pond if I would let it. In fact, I think it kept my fish warm during the winter last year, because they snuggled right down into it. So what do I do about too much algae? Duckweed. I cover my pond with a weed that floats on top of the water and blocks the sun from getting to the algae.

So my solution for the Arctic Ocean warming and the increase of this filamentous algae is duckweed. Duckweed is the solution, since there isn't any ice to cover the surface of the ocean any more. One problem though. Duckweed doubles in size every 48 hours or so. At my house, we dip out the duckweed and feed it to the worms---who love it. Recently my husband decided that there has to be another solution. He found a recipe on-line for duckweed soup*. You mix it with broccoli so that you can't tell which is duckweed and which is broccoli, I suppose. Anyway, the health benefits of duckweed soup is that it prevents farting!

Now there's a green alternative. Put duckweed in the Arctic Ocean and then harvest it and ship it to the cows. The cows will eat it and will, in turn, stop farting their methane gasses into the atmosphere. See? I have it all solved! :-)

*If anyone out there has actually tried duckweed soup, please let me know! :-)

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