Zebra Mussels

zebraZebra mussels (scientific name: Dreissena polymorpha) entered the Great Lakes in ballast water from ships originating in Eurasia in 1988. Zebra mussels are thought to be contributing to the Toledo, Ohio water supply issues in the summer of 2014 by feeding on native algae that would otherwise compete with the toxic algae that are making Lake Erie water undrinkable. They have spread through commerce, and by attaching themselves to the hulls of recreational boats. They are now found throughout the Great Lakes, Mississippi River Basin, and are moving up the Missouri River. Isolated populations have also been found in the Great Basin and California. Zebra mussels clog pipes of every sort, dramatically change the ecology of infected aquatic ecosystems, and grow in dense colonies that threaten native species.


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