It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Zebra Mussels out of control in the Great Lakes

page: 1
5

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 05:19 AM
link   
"The cure can become worse than the actual disease in some cases."

The Great Lakes were once very pristine and abundant with life way back in history.

Along comes mankind and slowly introduces pollution. This pollution, after years and years of being dumped into the waters, has taken a toll.


(CP) - After becoming so badly polluted it was labelled a "dead lake" in the 1960s, few would have imagined the waters of Lake Erie would one day be compared to the vibrant hues of the Caribbean.


The Zebra Mussel.

They are not indigenous to North America. It was a fluke on our part, when these muscles had been transported unknowingly by a European ship that sailed into our waters. The larvae are so tiny, that most if not all can't be seen by the naked eye.


In their larvae form, they are invisible to the naked eye and can drift through the water for several kilometres. They can also sneak into a fisherman's buckets or boats and unknowingly be transported to another water source.


This small mollusk was, and still is, the perfect means of filtering out all the baddies from the largest concentration of fresh waters on earth.

And yet, these seemingly harmless creatures may be doing their job - all too well. In most cases, the mollusks have proliferated to the point of covering feeding areas for fish - adding to their (fish) demise.

Full Story



mod edit, spelling in title, and sub title



[edit on 23-7-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]




posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 06:06 AM
link   
As much as these animals have had a positive influences in polution-removal aspects, there is a definate downside to this creatures over-population.


Zebra muscles are equally devastating to the ecosystem. They colonize on native muscles, killing them. They eat virtually anything suspended in the water, meaning algae, bacteria, protozoa, phytoplankton and all manner of important little microscopic creatures. This deprives other microscopic organism - dependent species like native muscles, minnows and baby fish. With these particles filtered out the water properties change, such as altered oxygen levels and sunlight penetrating deeper. Zebra muscles literally rebuild the entire aquatic habitat, usually to the detriment of native species.


LINK

Ecologists are baffled as to proper methods of controlling the spread of these animals.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 08:53 AM
link   
Any people who fish in the Great Lakes amongst our posters?


The result is chaos for the fishing industry and other wildlife, as well as growing maintenance problems for boats and port facilities. One key link in the food chain-the tiny crustacean diporeia-has plummeted 99 percent in some lake areas since the mussels began taking hold in the late 1980s. "Diporeia are being starved," says Jennifer Nalbone of the environmental group Great Lakes United, "because the zebra mussel is consuming their food."


Invasion of the Zebra Muscles

Have you seen a decline in certain species of fish?



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 05:50 PM
link   
I Live right off of Lake Saint Clair, which was once considered a "great lake". I remember this being of important debate when I was about 10-12 years old. What was once a lake that was great for fishing Perch and Wallye, is now a poor exuse for much of anything besides carp and bass...

Zebra muscles apperently feed off perch eggs, as well as many others, so I know the perch population is prob 1/10 of what it was 15 yesrs ago...

Sad story, all the more so when considering that the only seafood I eat is Perch fillets...



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 06:34 PM
link   
Don't forget the Muskies in Lake St. Clair. It's one of the premier muskie fisheries in the world.

I fish Lake Michigan out of Wisconsin on occasion, and the Salmon fishing here is first rate. There was an enormous down turn in the perch fishery that has begun to right itself over the last five years or so. I do not believe that was attributed to Zebra mussels but to some other imbalance. Walleyes, muskies, and small mouth bass fishing is first rate in the Green Bay area. I'm heading there Sunday in hopes of catching a monster muskie.

A larger concern to Great Lakes Fisheries at the present time is the VHS virus. It is a hemorrhagic virus that was introduced by accident from Europe. It kills certain species of fish and has affected stocking efforts throughout the U.S. to prevent it's spread.

Here's a link about VHS.
Fish Virus

I don't mean to downplay the Zebra mussel as an invasive species.
They suck. My sister lives on an inland lake in Wisconsin and you have to wear swimming shoes to enter the water, or risk severe cuts from the shells.




MOD EDIT: fixed fish virus link






[edit on 23-7-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:00 PM
link   
Musky,

I clicked on your 'Fish Virus' link and didn't see anything that corresponded to the title of your link.

However, I read the Article that the link goes to and started thinking of possible viable solutions regarding advanced filtration systems.

I'm wondering if there was a way that we could set up filtration systems that we could attach to trawling-capable boats. Sieves. They could scoop up the larvaes of the muscles. Then of course, anything else that was snagged in the sieves would be a 'catch and release' at that point.



[edit on 23-7-2007 by TheDuckster]



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:02 PM
link   
What't this, are Zebras now taking steroids to bulk up and become the bullies of the animal world?



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:11 PM
link   
Astronomer 70,

I think it's what we'd call 'strength in numbers'.

These muscles are having their way with the waters.

They hitch-hiked a ride on boats and before you know it, they've bred to proportional heights to date. They ARE the dominating species in this case.

If there was some way we could interrupt their reproductive cycles. Something that could possibly make them sterile perhaps, without have any detrimental affect on other organisms in our lakes.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:15 PM
link   
Sorry Duckster, pasted the wrong link in my first post and can't seem to fix it. Try this one for the virus info.

Fish Virus



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:25 PM
link   
This Site seems to be advertising a 1/2 decent filtration device.

Here another one that includes the Biology and Reproductive Cycles of Muscles


Mussel Facts

*They can walk.
*They have one small foot.
*Mussels can live to be 50 years old.
*You can knit clothes from their beards.
*They can filter up to 20 gallons of water a day.
*Mussels have small hearts that pump clear blood.
*There are lots of kind of mussels both fresh and salt water.
*They can spit far. Mussels can spit a byssus (thread) 200 times
longer than their shell.
*They are easy to feed, mussels can find 20 million edible things
in a small amount of water.


Each one can live to be 50 years old?!?! I hope it doesn't take that long a period to figure out how to stop them in their tracks.

The clocks ticking.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:34 PM
link   
Thanks Musky!

I read through the article and there seems to be hope though:


Winton said that the virus’s lack of genetic diversity in the Great Lakes indicates that it probably has only recently arrived to Great Lakes waters.


And:


further outbreaks will be attenuated as surviving fish exposed to the virus become immune. Further outbreaks of the disease may be less explosive than that which unfolded in early 2006.


This virus is not full-blown yet. Thank goodness.

Yet they also mentioned the fact that they simply (parphrasing) can't innoculate each and every fish at this time - close to impossible.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 08:20 PM
link   

Originally posted by TheDuckster


Mussel Facts

*They can walk.
*They have one small foot.
*Mussels can live to be 50 years old.
*You can knit clothes from their beards.
*They can filter up to 20 gallons of water a day.
*Mussels have small hearts that pump clear blood.
*There are lots of kind of mussels both fresh and salt water.
*They can spit far. Mussels can spit a byssus (thread) 200 times
longer than their shell.
*They are easy to feed, mussels can find 20 million edible things
in a small amount of water.


I thik you forgot to add that they can be eaten, yum yum! In the U.K., people eat mussels, cockles and lots of other seafood tidbits, so don't get mad, get cooking


Tasty Mussel Recipies




[edit on 23/7/2007 by deaman88]



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 08:32 PM
link   
I looove bivalve molluscs they are probabbly my favourite food. Just eat them they are much much better than the green one.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 09:22 PM
link   
Zebra mussels are very small, cooking them is not really an option as you would literally have to eat probably 400-500 just to get a good meal.Plus I wouldn't eat any shellfish or bottom feeders in the Great Lakes anyway, too much pollution in most populated areas.


As for the filtration systems being talked about ..... its already too late. They are here already in the Great Lakes and are spreading to the inland lakes. They are so small that a fisherman or boater easily could transport a batch of them and not even notice them. The Larvae are so small that the average boater could have some water in their boat or bait bucket and transport that to another lake not even realizing what they just did.
I don't think they are going to find a way to stop them from doing what they do, even introducing a fish that eats them could fire in a very bad way in the Great Lakes. For such big bodies of water, the Great Lakes really don't have too much diversity when it comes to animal species, which makes any newcomer very likely to upset the balance. They came from Eastern European Lakes and those lakes are not devoid of fish, so they will eventually peak and then level off hopefully.

There are natural predators like crayfish and other fishes, but the mussels are just so prolific at breeding that it doesn't stop them or even put a dent in them. Raising the level of potassium chloride in the water to 100 ppm seems to eradicate them from smaller bodies of water, don't know what that does to other species though.

On a somewhat plus side they have had a immense impact on the clarity of the water, the downside is that they pretty much eat all the stuff floating around, leaving little for other species.

There are many reasons for the fluctuations of gamefish in the Great Lakes, to blame it mainly on the Zebra mussel problem would not be accurate.

[edit on 23-7-2007 by pavil]

[edit on 23-7-2007 by pavil]



posted on Jul, 24 2007 @ 10:27 AM
link   
well, I think the USA just tapped into a Gold Nugget for exports (Remember to say its a delicacy on the packaging,), send em to Europe and Japan, and see how the little beanstalk of watery crustacea ends up ends up a golden goose of much needed income!

On amore serious note, couldn't you send the little guys to other places where water quality is low to help improve it like a natural detergent If you don't know what Im taking abot refer to your nearest marine biologist


[edit on 24/7/2007 by deaman88]



posted on Jul, 24 2007 @ 11:27 AM
link   

Originally posted by TheDuckster
Any people who fish in the Great Lakes amongst our posters?


I fish Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. I've seen no discernable negative or positive effect related to the mussels with regard to fishing.

Here is just one example of the many unpredictable ways an invasive species can change a fishery.

In a smaller lake in Upstate, NY (Oneida Lake) the Zebra mussels have decreased the turbidity of the water to such an extent that aquatic vegetation can grow at significantly greater depths than in the past due to the deeper penetration of sunlight. The growth provides additional cover for prey species and habitat for juevenile game species.

Many predicted this would adversely affect sport fishing on the lake but it's unanimously agreed around here that the fishing is better than any time in anyone's memory.

Another good news story....Due to the efforts and cooperation of sportsmen, fish and game clubs and biologists, Lake Sturgeon and Atlantic Salmon are experiencing a dramatic comeback in this lake that was over harvested in the late 19th and early 20th century to the point that the salmon had disappeared and the Sturgeon was so rare only a handful were seen each year.

This is a great example of how, as a species, we often abuse and damage a resource or ecological system, but always seem to find the sense of balance and societal responsibility to correct our mistakes.



new topics

top topics



 
5

log in

join