river talk

Stump flux

By SANDY LONG
Posted 6/9/21

With a title like the one atop this column, who could resist the temptation to know more? That’s pretty much how I felt when stumbling upon the beaver-addled, slime-covered stumps depicted …

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river talk

Stump flux

Posted

With a title like the one atop this column, who could resist the temptation to know more? That’s pretty much how I felt when stumbling upon the beaver-addled, slime-covered stumps depicted here. The mysterious trees seemed to be oozing an orange substance. It was obvious that a beaver had been at work harvesting wood along the hiking trail in Blooming Grove, PA, but what could explain the gooey substance?

I reached out to my environmentally focused friends for feedback. After sleuthing around on the internet, photographer Dave Soete identified the suspect: stump flux or slime flux, an opportunistic mixture of yeasts and bacteria resembling orange mucous. Otherwise known as a microbial consortium. Ooze! Goo! Ewwww!

The admittedly unattractive slime is another sign of spring as temperatures rise and sap begins moving through trees. In damaged trees, the leaking sap provides food for a variety of airborne microbes, including several species of yeasts. The yeasts make colorful pigments ranging from shades of pink to salmon to peach. In turn, the goo provides food for insects and tiny worms called nematodes.

Visit the Rosin Cerate blog at www.bit.ly/rosincerate23 to learn more about this interesting natural cycle of events.

Forests are filled with such fascinating phenomena. Learn more about the mysteries of our regional forests by attending one of the upcoming day and evening nature walks at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA on Saturday, June 12 (www.bit.ly/peecprograms23).

Experience the healing power of forests at Lacawac Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA during the Forest Bathing Walk with Joshua Heath on Saturday, July 17 at 9 a.m. (www.lacawac.org/programs.html). 

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