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Also: Lake St. Clair
  Zebra Mussels
in the Great Lakes Region

What's New | Overview | General Resources | Related Resources
 
Select a species:
Crustaceans: Cercopagis pengoi | Rusty Crayfish | Spiny Water Flea
Fish: Common Carp | Goby | Ruffe | Sea Lamprey | White Perch
Mollusks: Zebra Mussel
Plants: Curly-leaf Pondweed | Eurasian Watermilfoil | Flowering Rush | Purple Loosestrife
 
[Invasive species home page]

 
What's New
Lake Huron whitefish feeling effects of invasive mussels
Great Lakes Echo (10/3)
Lake Huron whitefish are suffering from ecosystem changes caused by invasive quagga and zebra mussels.

Why haven't invasive zebra and quagga mussels overtaken Lake Superior?
MLive (9/15)
Lake Superior has successfully repelled the invasive dreissenid mussels thanks to a unique combination of temperature, chemistry, and food availability.

State has new weapon in fight against invasive mussels
Detroit Free Press (8/15)
Researchers say they believe they may have finally found a safe, effective means of combating zebra and quagga mussels. But completely eradicating the invaders from Michigan's waterways remains a pipe dream, experts say.

COMMENTARY: Quagga mussels impact Lake Michigan salmon
The Daily Reporter (6/15)
Where did the invasive quagga mussels originate? It probably came from the discharge of ballast water from ocean ships. And now, it's part of the Great Lakes ecosystem. It's a new problem that impacts every aspect of the lake food chain.

House measure supports shippers on water dumping
The Associated Press (5/24)
A plan gaining support in Congress and backed by the cargo shipping industry would establish a nationwide policy for dumping ballast water into U.S. waterways that environmental groups say would open the door to more invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels.

Great Lakes: Invasive fish wreaking havoc on endemic mollusks
Headlines & Global News (4/7)
Originally introduced to rid the Great Lakes of destructive zebra mussels, invasive round goby fish have since disrupted the natural reproduction of mollusks, threatening the success of future generations.

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Overview
Zebra Mussels Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are small, fingernail-sized mussels native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia. They are believed to have been transported to the Great Lakes via ballast water from a transoceanic vessel. The ballast water, taken on in a freshwater European port was subsequently discharged into Lake St. Clair, near Detroit, where the mussel was discovered in 1988. Since that time, they have spread rapidly to all of the Great Lakes and waterways in many states, as well as Ontario and Quebec.
 
Diving ducks and freshwater drum eat zebra mussels, but will not significantly control them.
 
Likely means of spread: Microscopic larvae may be carried in livewells or bilgewater. Adults can attach to boats or boating equipment that is in the water.

 
Photo Credit: Center for Great Lakes and Aquatic Sciences
 
References: A Field Guide to Aquatic Exotic Plants and Animals, University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program
Showing Our Mussel: The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Report on Zebra Mussel Research and Outreach.

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General Resources
Animated map showing national Zebra Mussel distribution
National Atlas of the United States
Click the small map to the left to view the dynamic map. A new window will open containing the Zebra Mussels dynamic map.

National Aquatic Nuisance Species Clearinghouse
New York Sea Grant/National Sea Grant College Program
North America's most extensive technical library of publications related to the spread, biology, impacts and control of the zebra mussel. Also includes smaller libraries addressing the Eurasian ruffe, round goby, tube-nosed goby, spiny water flea and more.

Nonindigenous Species Program
NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)
With the discovery of zebra mussels in Lake St. Clair, and the passage of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Act of 1990, GLERL was charged with developing a major program on nonindigenous species, focusing on the ecosystem and environmental effects of the zebra mussel.

Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
Sea Grant Nonindigenous Species Site (SGNIS)
Includes scientifically reviewed articles as well as images from Sea Grant researchers.

Zebra Mussel Biofouling Control In Cottage and Other Small Volume Water Systems (PDF)
The Georgian Bay Association
This comprehensive research report evaluates six products used to control zebra mussels in cottage water intakes.

Zebra Mussel Fact Sheet
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Great Lakes Science Center
Outlines the spread of zebra mussels in North America, economic and ecological impacts, and prevention and control methods.

Zebra Mussel ID Card
Minnesota Sea Grant Program
This resource describes how to identify a zebra mussel and what to do if you find one.

Zebra Mussel Information Resources
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
A part of the National Zebra Mussel Information Network, this site includes U.S. distribution maps, spatial queries, contacts and more.

Zebra Mussel Page
Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan)
The Ram Lab has been doing research on zebra mussels since 1990. Our research has focused on understanding mechanisms regulating zebra mussel reproduction; however, studies on the effects of toxic chemicals and on non-reproductive roles of neurotransmitters have also been done.

Zebra Mussel/Aquatic Nuisance Species Office
Michigan Sea Grant
This office serves as a centralized source for information exchange among Michigan Sea Grant staff, state and federal agencies, researchers, water users and others.

Zebra Mussels and Other Nonindigenous Species
Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
The seven Sea Grant programs that form the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network have frequently taken the lead in addressing nonindigenous species issues through research, education and outreach activities. The network was among the first to react to the zebra mussel invasion.

Zebra Mussels in North America (PDF)
Factsheet from the Ohio Sea Grant College Program

Zebra Mussels Threaten Inland Waters
Minnesota Sea Grant Program
This overview of the zebra mussel discusses its history, introduction to the Great Lakes, biology, its effect on the environment, industry and recreation, and control efforts.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Fauna
GLIN: Fish and Fisheries in the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: December 13, 2017
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