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Posted Tue Aug 3 2010: from McClatchy, via PhysOrg:
As one non-native fish bears down on Great Lakes, notorious mussels spread across the West
Despite all the attention they've gotten recently, Asian carp are not the most dangerous invasive species to threaten the Great Lakes. Their impact pales in comparison to that of the quagga mussel, which first showed up in the lakes in the late 1990s and has become ensconced there. The mussels reproduce rapidly and devour plankton, disrupting the lower levels of a food chain that native species rely upon. "We're probably looking at one of the biggest invasions in the Great Lakes right now with the quagga mussels," says Gary Fahnenstiel, a senior ecologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Notwithstanding the dire warnings from politicians, Fahnenstiel says, should Asian carp make it to Lake Michigan they probably would have a difficult time competing with the quagga mussels for food. "They beat them to the buffet table, you might say," Fahnenstiel says. Also, while state officials argue about sealing the lakes from the Mississippi, the biggest threat is likely to come from the north, where the Saint Lawrence Seaway connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the 185 invasive species in the lakes hitched rides in the cargo holds of ships sailing through the seaway.
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'Doc Michael says:
It's just hard to work up a fear-sweat about something called a quagga.

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