This species of algae can destroy the natural habitat of many U.S. fish species.
Based on recent reports, many U.S. lakes have been invaded by Starry Stonewort plant threatening the local vegetation. Authorities are making efforts to prevent this plant from spreading because it can have a negative impact on fish species.
Starry Stonewort (Nitellopsis obtuse) is a species of algae that usually lives in small waters of one to six meters. The name derives from the manner in which its six leaves are arranged, according to scientists.
While the plant may seem innocent to normal people, authorities claim the algae has the potential to pollute many of the U.S. lakes. Many negative consequences could arise from this invasion as the Starry Stonewort is a parasite growing on other plants and suffocating them.
Fish, too, may be affected as they will no longer find the plants they need to feed themselves. Consequently, their habitat will be destroyed and reproduction will drop, researchers have concluded.
While the Starry Stonewort is not directly noxious for the human beings, it could definitely affect local residents. Water will be hard to filter and it could become dangerous for inhabitants to swim in the lakes. In addition, water equipment could be damaged unless owners clean them every time they use them.
It is unclear what might have caused this unexpected invasion of the Starry plant. The algae is specific for slow moving or still water that is rich in calcium carbonates. Saline environments with very small sources of light are said to favor the diffusion of the Starry Stonewort plant.
The situation has become all the more troublesome, especially in Minnesota where many lakes have been invaded by the algae. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources the plant was found in 23 lakes on the territory of Minnesota, but there could be other lakes infested, as well.
The first time the plant was spotted in American waters was in 1978 in St. Lawrence River. Since then, the algae has moved towards the northern states causing small and temporary inconveniences to residents. In 2014, Wisconsin confirmed the presence of the Starry Stonewort in some of its lakes.
Image source: www.mymlsa.org