Skip to comments.Destruction of Giant Algae Doughnut Threatens Lake Michigan (Quagga mussels eating phytoplankton)
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 ...
So that dirty, murky water I swam in as a kid is better than the clean, clear water I swim in now?
The “phytoplankton doughnut”
I’m surprised the cops missed it!
We also need a Donut Czar too.
If these things are the same as the ones I read about a while ago, they cause havoc with water intake pipes and the like because they just set up shop on any hard surface and quickly multiply until the intakes clog.
Mmmmm Mmmmmm Mmmmmm donuts.
They almost single-handedly (bad metaphor) cleaned up Lake Erie, brought back commercial fishing for the Drum, a species that eats quagga mussels and fresh-water shellfish, and made the water in the lake eerily clean and clear.
OK, Lake Michigan was never all that dirty, but something will come along to eat the mussels, and they will just become part of the system.
Plus, as far as Quagga mussels go, they's kinda like, you know, cute.
Some good zebra and quagga mussel info here
Hmmmmmmmmm ... algae."
those would be the zebra mussel - another invasive species...
Beware of the quagga!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.