Oneroa Beach on Waiheke Island, Auckland has been beset by a smelly seaweed for some time, particularly becoming prolific in late spring last year, but the enduring presence on the beach may indicate an ongoing development. A sample was sent to NIWA scientist Dr Wendy Nelson in November when the weed was particularly pungent – detectable uphill in the Oneroa shopping village. The species name was confirmed and the sample sent by Waiheke News was assigned the code ASK207. It will be now be held in Te Papa’s collection a permanent record of the species, recording the date and place of occurrence. It is non-toxic and not known to be smelly, yet the lingering odour has been obvious. Though the usual suspects are considered, Dr Nelson has been unable to conclude the definitive causes for the buildup.
In mid February the weed was mainly prevalent at the eastern end of Oneroa after a period at the western end. It seems to spread cyclically across the beach, but can be seen built up through the low tide surf.
Photos show the deep spongy November 2010 buildup at the east end compared to the thin spread at the western end in early February 2011