Essay heading: A Characterization of the organism known as Didymo. And what makes it a pest in New Zealand.

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July 22, 1997






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The polysaccharide stalks didymo grows are significantly larger than Gomphoneis, Gomphonema, and stronger. They are epilithic and epiphilic (able to attach to both stones and plants) where as other diatoms are not as multifunctional. This doesnt seem to be a problem to the rest of the periphyton community because they can use the massive webs of Didymo stalks to their own advantage, and may actually benefit from attaching themselves to it...
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So it seems that in competing for the same space our native periphyton do not lose out in a tug of war for space but gain an advantage by having extra substrate to attach themselves to (see picture). What actually makes Didymo a pest is probably more to do with the way in which it divides, asexually...
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