A Virginia biologist said the smelly blobs that have washed up on the state's beaches are likely potato sponges killed by Hurricane Irene.
Mark Patterson, a biologist with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, said the strange blobs that washed up on beaches in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and other locations are likely potato sponges, which live in the shallow waters along the East Coast and in the Chesapeake Bay, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.
Patterson said Hurricane Irene was the likely culprit behind the "mass mortality" of the sponges.
"Sponges are delicate in a sense; a hurricane can do a major upset," he said.
Erin Sutton, an environmental health manager for the Virginia Beach Health Department, said investigators are awaiting the results of tests conducted on the objects, but they strongly suspect the blobs are deceased sponges.