Invasive Mussels in the Great Lakes

Invasive Mussels in The Great Lakes
By: Hannah

Lake Michigan is the second largest of the Great Lakes and is known for supplying fish for both commercial and recreational fishing.   The Great Lakes contain 20% of the world’s fresh water – a finite resource (Audubon). In 1980 the Great Lakes took in a species that would unknowingly damage the ecosystem, as they knew it.   As ballast ships came to the Great Lakes proceeding from the Caspian and Black Seas, they carried many invasive species like the zebra and quagga mussels.   Zebra and quagga mussels are no larger then a quarter in size, but are capable enough to destroy an ecosystem from the bottom up. These mussels have had a dramatic impact on the ecosystem and have made it very difficult for other aquatic life to survive.  
The zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater bivalve mollusk that are originally native to southeast Russia but have now been introduced to parts of Europe and the United States.   These mussels have a high plasticity meaning they are easily adaptable to changing environment and also an extremely prolific species that can cause widespread damage on property as well as on an ecosystem. The quagga and zebra mussels may be the reason for Diporea, a small shrimp-like species that serves as a food source for larger fish, is no longer abundant. The whitefish that feed on Diporea are growing to less than half of their expected size (Science Daily).   As well as the severe effect on other smaller fish that normally feeds on plankton that are unable to find food as easily to sustain them, which is having a relentless impact on their survival rate.   These mussels are suspension feeders; which means they filter the algae out of the water to obtain their food. Both types of mussels use inhalant and exhalant siphons that protrude from there shells to extract their food.
The pseudofeces that is produced from filtering the water accumulates and creates a foul environment. Pseudofeces is the way that...