The Zebra Mussel's Invasion Effects Essay

The Zebra Mussel's Invasion Effects Essay

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The zebra mussel is a small freshwater mussel, this species was originally native to the lakes of southern Russia. From their first appearance in American waters in 1988, zebra mussels have spread to a large number of waterways, including Lake Simcoe in the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi, Cumberland, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, and Arkansas Rivers. Unfortunately, the invasion of the Zebra Mussel continues. For instance, in 2009 the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation confirmed that zebra mussels had been found in Laurel Lake in the Berkshires. That same year the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that live zebra mussels have been found in Pelican Lake, Minnesota. This was the first confirmed sighting in the Red River Basin, which extends across the international border into the province of Manitoba. In July, 2010, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department confirmed the presence of zebra mussel in the Red River. As recently as 2010 California similarly reported invasions. In 2011 an invasion of the mussels has resulted in reduced water supplies during a drought year, worsening water restrictions across the Dallas area. However, it has been accidentally introduced in many other areas, and has become an invasive species in many different countries worldwide.
Zebra mussels get their name from a striped pattern which is commonly seen on their shells, though it is not universally present. They are usually about the size of a fingernail, but can grow to a maximum length of nearly two inches. The shells of the Zebra Mussel are D-shaped.
Zebra mussels are filter-feeding organisms, They remove particles from sediments on lake bottoms. The zebra mussels process up to one gallon of water...


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...d when transoceanic ships drop anchor in freshwater ports. They have become an invasive species in North America, and as such they are the target of Federal policy to control them, for instance in the National Invasive Species Act (1996).

A common inference made by scientists predicts that the zebra mussel will continue spreading passively, by ship and by pleasure craft, to more rivers in North America. Trailered boat traffic is the most likely cause for invasion into North America. This spread can be preventable if boaters thoroughly clean and dry their boats and associated equipment before transporting them to new bodies of water. Since no North American predator or combination of predators has been shown to significantly reduce zebra mussel numbers, such spread would most likely result in permanent establishment of zebra mussels in many North American waterways.

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