VIMS investigates UFOs

VIMS investigates UFOs

Credit: Charles Schmuck

A freshwater bryozoan in the lake in City Center at Oyster Point

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WVEC.com

Posted on November 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

GLOUCESTER -- The Virginia Institute of Marine Science is investigating UFOs - not unidentified flying objects but floating and fishy ones.

VIMS scientists were called to investigate a large blob in a lake at City Center in Newport News last week.

Several people spotted it and wondered if it was a Halloween prank or perhaps a dead animal.

One of the workers, Charlie Schmuck, snapped some photos and sent them to VIMS, along with a description statingthe UFO was about four-feet in diamater and felt spongy.

After a day or so, scientists determined the UFO was a Pectinatella magnifica, a bryozoan algae eater more common in salt water.

The fresh water kind, like the one from Newport news, usually get 1-2 feet, so it was double the normal size.

"It's not a sign of bad water quality," said VIMS professor Carl Hershner, "and it doesn't hurt fish. It can clog pipes, though, and it will be smelly if it’s removed from the water."

If you find a marine UFO in the Chesapeake Bay or surrounding waters, you can check out the VIMS Website for review or submit a digital photo and description (location, size, shape, color, behavior, etc.).

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