Algae Balls

Does anyone know what these are?

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They go crunch-crunch when you step on them.

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6 thoughts on “Algae Balls

  1. They look similar to something you can see in ocean reefs- there’s a type of algae (which is a nuisance in saltwater fish tanks) that form that look like that. The bubbles are hard shelled and crunchy. They are a type of algae that merges cellular walls so that there are many cell nuclei within a single cell wall (and for that reason is used for research).

    The saltwater variety is Valonia ventricosa. But your picture looks like it is on land? So might just be a coincidence of form. Still, I’ve dealt with this algae in my own fish tanks and “crunchy” is a good description.

    1. Before I posted these pictures, I had seen those/it underwater ones, but I hadn’t found any reference to them on land. After I posted, I did find an article in Australia about them.

      We’re on a farm and I’ve never seen them before so I was wondering if the soil has too much phosphate or something?

      I will investigate further. Thanks!

      1. These were in a vineyard, on dry land. Keep in mind, in the spring, the vineyard floods. The area is inundated for at least a month or more. Normally, we do get algae, but this was the first year we got these ball things. I noticed them because as I walked my dog, I could hear them crunch underneath my (and my dog’s) steps. I’m thinking maybe the farmer used something different in his fertilizer?

    1. They are odd. Or, at least, not very common. Before this year, I hadn’t noticed them. But the crunchy-crunch was hard to ignore. I kept thinking I was killing something!

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