Imagine either living or staying at a resort along the shores of Lake Mille Lacs and as you are making your way to the cool waters, you look down and see what looks like clear jelly. After some time looking at it, you continue towards the water where you find more splotches of this clear 'goo' floating in the water. Many folks would turn around and head back to the cabin, but this 'goo' is actually a sign that the water in the lake is in good shape. That goo you found, was actually called a Bryozoan.

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I was at a wedding this weekend and while we were between the ceremony and dinner, I found myself scrolling on social media. I scrolled right past a post that was made on the Lake Mille Lacs page by Kari C, which showed a clear jelly-like object on shore, asking the group what it was, and that it was found in the lake.

Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM Screengrab
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM Screengrab
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After wading through some 'funny' answers the truth was revealed, that clear jelly thing is actually a sign that the water ecosystem in the lake is good, as that clear object is known as a Bryozoan.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

"During the late months of summer, gelatinous balls of various size are commonly seen in ponds and streams in Minnesota. These balls are usually attached to objects such as dock pilings or rocks. What folks are likely seeing are colonies of bryozoans, says DNR aquatic invertebrate biologist Gary Montz. These microscopic animals, sometimes referred to as moss animals, make jellylike tubes and attach themselves to sticks, rocks, and other submerged objects."

If you happen to run into these slimy blobs you shouldn't worry as the MnDNR says that Bryozoans "are not toxic, venomous, or harmful. They don't really seem to cause problems for people, except for the 'ick' factor and occasionally clogging underwater screens or pipes."

Seeing them in the lake tells scientists that the lake's water ecosystem is in good shape.

Do you have photos of a Bryozoan or something else you think we'd like to see? Send it our way using the app.

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