All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Friday, December 23, 2005

Squirt Alert

An article at Science News Online describes the discovery of sea squirts on the coast of Maine.
As scientific adviser to a group of Maine watermen, ecologist Larry Harris had heard his share of stories. But one tale, told to him 2 years ago, proved unforgettable. A fisherman related how he had been hauling up a dredge used to scout for scallops in nearby Cobscook Bay when he snagged something novel: a life form resembling blobs of pancake batter.

In all his decades at sea, the man said, he'd never encountered anything like it. His girlfriend, riding along at the time, told the man not to touch the pearly-white, gelatinous glob draping over rocks and shells that the dredge had brought up. The stuff looked like it might have come from outer space, she said.

It was an alien, all right, but one of Earthly origins. [Link]
The squirt's tendency to smother sponges and shellfish could someday affect Maine's fishing industry. Scientists still aren't sure where the alien species originated, but suspect Asia.

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