Mystery of Alaskan “Goo” Rust Solved at Last | The Artful Amoeba, Scientific American Blog Network
Last fall the small Alaskan coastal village of Kivalina was inundated by a mysterious orange “goo”(click for photo). Locals and others suspected a toxic algal bloom (see here for image), or perhaps some sort of chemical release, or millions of microscopic “crustacean eggs.”
Yet just a month later the mystery substance was identified as none other than a plant-parasitic fungus called a rust — completely harmless to humans and aquatic life, and probably not bad plankton food. I covered this at length in my follow-up post. But the mystery remained: what plant disease epidemic had this rust come from? And to produce a bloom of spores that huge, how could no one have noticed?