Bryozoan Blobs Found in Woodglen Lake

Jan. 13, 2017
For Immediate Release

Bryozoan 'Blobs' Found in Woodglen Lake

A community of Bryozoans (that look like 'blobs from outer-space') was discovered recently in Woodglen Lake, safely living underwater and blending in with their environment. The presence of Bryozoans, aquatic invertebrates, are indicative of a healthy lake with a functioning eco-system.

Bryozoans are filter feeders that occur naturally and help clean the water. They do important work like consuming algae and organic matter from dead plants and animals. A large community of Bryozoans can clean a significant amount of water in a day.

Sometimes called "moss animals," bryozoans are organisms that, like corals, live in colonies and ingest algae by filter-feeding. Bryozoans have an ancient lineage dating back 500 million years; they are older than dinosaurs. Most species are marine, but a few prefer fresh water. Bryozoans have been found throughout the region in places like Oyster Point in Newport News, near Bladensburg Waterfront Park and Lake Ann in Reston.

"How cool is this?" asked Karlee Copeland, chief, Stormwater Management Branch, Maintenance and Stormwater Management Branch, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES). "We found an entire Bryozoan community living in Woodglen Lake and we named them the "Woodglen Blobs," Karlee said.

The Bryozoan colony was found during an annual inspection of the PL-566* dams in the Pohick Creek Watershed, in Fairfax County. This may be the first time anyone has seen Bryozoan 'blobs' growing in Woodglen Lake. Employees of DPWES dredged the lake in 2015, removing 40,000 cubic yards of sediment and installing fish habitat structures.

Bryozoan Blobs Found in Woodglen Lake
Caption: Bryozoans live underwater.

Bryozoan Blobs Found in Woodglen Lake
Caption: A Fairfax County employee holds a Bryozoan at Woodglen Lake.


* Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act Public Law 566


Contact: Irene Haske,
Department of Public Works and Environmental Services 
703-324-5821, TTY 711


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