Friday, April 16, 2010
Didymo: An Unnatural Species
Didymosphenia geminata, or Didymo, is an invasive species in Colorado. Didymo is naturally found in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the Pacific Northwest. This species is a small, single celled diatom that lives in streams and can be passed to other streams by living in felt soled wading boots for up to two weeks. Didymo is also known as rock snot since it can grow into large mats that coat rocks thickly, like snot. As fisherman travel from stream to stream, Didymo survives in their boots unless the boots are scraped clean or are bleached. This problem is much worse in Australia and New Zealand than in the US. However, Didymo has been found all around the US, even in Boulder Creek (picture above).
This is a terrible problem that can be easily solved. By posting signs throughout affected areas, or areas that could be easily targeted by the diatom, this problem could be slowed. Informing the general public of Didymo's existence and how they can stop the spread of it will go far to slow Didymo down. New Zealand has had to take drastic measures and make areas for vehicles traveling through streams to wash their tires and undercarriages off. By taking a few extra minutes to clean our boots, cars, and boats, we can slow the spread of Didymo.