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Nature’s recycling bin

What’s happening in the First Creek Wetland’s ‘settlement’ pond in Adelaide Botanic Garden?

An alga has been growing there that hasn’t been recorded in Adelaide for many years.

It is not toxic like blue-green algae, and it has got scientists at the State Herbarium excited. They’ve been taking samples to assist botanic gardens staff to manage the natural First Creek Wetland system.

It is a sign of a healthy ecosystem and shows just how diverse the biology of this area is.

Algae is a natural recycler. It soaks up excess nutrients washed in from surrounding streets and supports a living aquatic ecosystem: it produces oxygen and feeds insects which in turn feed the resident banjo frogs, ducks, grebes and many other creatures that call the wetlands home.

Under the microscope, the green alga, Mougeotia, looks like grassy filaments.

Nature’s recycling bin

Mixed in with the alga are pine pollen grains, which are reminiscent of Mickey Mouse caps.

Nature’s recycling bin

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