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Destruction of Giant Algae Doughnut Threatens Lake Michigan (Quagga mussels eating phytoplankton)
LiveScience.com ^ | 9/8/10 | Andrea Leontiou

Posted on 09/08/2010 11:17:11 AM PDT by NormsRevenge

An invasive species of mussel called quagga has recently begun eating its way through the phytoplankton population of Lake Michigan, which could have dire effects on the lake's ecosystem, scientists now warn.

A giant ring of phytoplankton (microscopic plants such as algae) was discovered in Lake Michigan in 1998 by Michigan Technological Universitybiologist W. Charles Kerfoot and his research team. The "phytoplankton doughnut" is formed when winter storms kick up nutrient-rich sediment along the southeastern shore of the lake. The disturbed sediments begin circulating in a slow-moving circle with the lake's currents, which provides a massive supply of food for phytoplankton.

...

This doughnut, in turn, feeds the entire lake. Zooplankton, tiny animals that feed on phytoplankton, thrive there. The seasonal bloom helps them survive winter. The zooplankton are then eaten by small fish,which are eaten by large fish, and so on — thus the doughnut helps maintain the entire food web.

But almost as soon as it was discovered, the doughnut — recognized by the signature of the plants' chlorophyll pigment that captures sunlight— started to disappear. "Since 2001, the chlorophyll has been nibbled away on the edges, right where the quaggas are," Kerfoot said.

The quagga is found in all of the Great Lakes; the invasive specieswas introduced by ocean-going vessels dumping ballast water. Their favorite food is phytoplankton. ..

All the energy in the phytoplankton, which once fed fish, is now being sucked down to the bottom of the lake by quaggas. Their waste can stimulate the growth of Cladophora algae, which die, decompose and remove all the oxygen from the surrounding water.

Under such conditions, populations of zooplankton will decline,as will the alewives, chubs, Atlantic salmon, muskies, smelt, walleyes,perch and the rest of the hundred or so species of fish that inhabit Lake Michigan.

(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: algae; destruction; doughnut; greatlakes; invasivespecies; lakemichigan; michigan; mussels; phytoplankton; quagga
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To: derllak
It's a quaggamire......

They're always finding something to complain about environmentally. It's usually BS.

21 posted on 09/08/2010 12:15:37 PM PDT by Lakeshark (Thank a member of the US armed forces for their sacrifice)
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To: Lakeshark
Quagga Mussels Cooked with Lager
22 posted on 09/08/2010 12:19:52 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: NormsRevenge

You should know better than to try to educate the willfully ignorant.


23 posted on 09/08/2010 1:03:28 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: 1rudeboy
So that dirty, murky water I swam in as a kid is better than the clean, clear water I swim in now?

Actually yes, for the people around the lakes who rely on the 20 to 30 billion dollar sportfishing industry that "dirty" water is the basis of their livelyhoods. Its somewhere between 6 and 10 billion for Michigan alone.

The great lakes once had the single largest freshwater commercial fishing industry in the world. Between the sea lamprey and environmentalists it was literally eliminated. The lamprey was brought under control, the environmentalists still thrive. Its a sad thing to see the old fishing boats rotting away along the shores. I suspect many more went to the bottom just to get rid of them.
24 posted on 09/08/2010 1:24:13 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: cripplecreek

but but but.. lol

It’s like a passion for many here. Thanks!

I hope the walleyes and perch and muskies make it.. to heck with the smelt, get me some beer batter..


25 posted on 09/08/2010 2:05:59 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed .. Monthly Donor Onboard .. Obama: Epic Fail or Bust!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Better to deal with it now rather than letting government deal with it 20 years from now.

In 20 years they’ll need a half trillion dollar great lakes restoration agency and more control of the water.


26 posted on 09/08/2010 2:08:50 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: cripplecreek

I actually know some commercial sport fisherman on Lake Michigan. They appear to be doing good business, but I can’t speak for the industry as a whole. Wasn’t the zebra mussel going to wipe them out?


27 posted on 09/08/2010 3:28:42 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Whether the business is affected depends on zebra mussel control efforts. Take out the bottom of the food chain and the whole thing falls apart. The zebra mussels haven’t been here long enough to do the damage they could potentially do.


28 posted on 09/08/2010 3:33:20 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: grellis; Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks NormsRevenge. Krispy Kreme ping.
A giant ring of phytoplankton (microscopic plants such as algae) was discovered in Lake Michigan in 1998 by Michigan Technological Universitybiologist W. Charles Kerfoot and his research team. The "phytoplankton doughnut" is formed when winter storms kick up nutrient-rich sediment along the southeastern shore of the lake. The disturbed sediments begin circulating in a slow-moving circle with the lake's currents, which provides a massive supply of food for phytoplankton.

29 posted on 09/08/2010 4:54:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
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To: SunkenCiv; NormsRevenge
I grew up with dirty farm ponds that had bluegill, maybe and bullhead catfish.

A very deprived childhood.

We did have Jackrabbits, coyotes and tumbleweeds however.

30 posted on 09/08/2010 5:27:43 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Springman; sergeantdave; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; ...

If you would like to be added or dropped from the Michigan ping list, please freepmail me.


31 posted on 09/08/2010 5:34:03 PM PDT by grellis (I am Jill's overwhelming sense of disgust.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

:’)


32 posted on 09/08/2010 8:04:14 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
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To: Lakeshark
They're always finding something to complain about environmentally. It's usually BS.

If it wasn't a disaster waiting to happen, who would finance their research. If researcher A wanted to study a mussel that is new to the Great Lakes and he doesn't know what effect it will have and researcher B wanted to study a mussel that is new to the Great Lakes and he says he thinks it may destroy the Great Lakes as we know them, who will get the grant?

33 posted on 09/09/2010 5:16:37 AM PDT by magslinger ('This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. Send 'em up, I'll wait!')
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To: NormsRevenge
The quagga is found in all of the Great Lakes...

And also in Quahog.


34 posted on 09/09/2010 5:20:19 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (YouTube My Space and I'll Google your Yahoo.)
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