4/29/09

In the News: Little quagga mussel has big impact on Lake Michigan

From the Bay View Compass:
In his lab at the Great Lakes WATER Institute, scientist Russell Cuhel places several quagga mussels into a beaker containing water tinted green with tiny algae. Within a half hour, the hungry mussels suck up virtually all the algae in the beaker, leaving the water clear.

A similar scene plays out year-round on a much larger scale in Lake Michigan, where trillions of the invasive mussels have colonized rocky and sandy areas of the lakebed since the species’ arrival less than a decade ago. These filter feeders’ voracious appetites have transformed vast areas of the lake from cloudy to Caribbean clear. That may be a boon for divers and others who benefit from greater visibility in the water. But to scientists like Cuhel, it’s a symptom of a dramatic shift in the lake’s food web. Read more.


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