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The Great Lakes invaders hit Chicago beaches and no one notices | Chicago News

Rough waves cleared the wreckage of one of Lake Michigan’s most annoying invasive species, the quaggga mussel. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicagoers love their beaches, but even the most stubborn citizen boosters will admit they aren’t a beachcomber paradise.

So when a longtime resident of Edgewater (and WTTW News staff) encountered a sudden seashell blessing at Lane Beach in early November, she didn’t encounter it on a 10-year daily walk. Her spicy sensation entwined with the “it’s weird” kind. Of the way.

Certainly strange. Our esteemed colleagues had only come into contact with one of the most threatening creatures infesting the Great Lakes ecosystem, but nevertheless were not even aware of the threat.

From the photo, scientists at the Shedd Aquarium have identified a seemingly innocuous shell, about the size of a penny, as the wreckage of the quaggga mussel, the wreckage of the mussel.

According to Shed’s research biologists, recent storm waves are likely to have agitated and landed shell deposits from the bottom of the lake. Kentaro Inoue When Austin Happel..

For Lake Michigan Behaved like the seaWith the strong tides and throbbing waves needed to provide a stable supply of detritus from the deep sea, it will cough a large amount of quagga on a regular basis.

A large number of shells were launched on Lane Beach in Edgewater. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)A large number of shells were launched on Lane Beach in Edgewater. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Quagga, native to the Dnieper River in Ukraine, boarded the Great Lakes via the ballast water of a ship that crosses the Atlantic Ocean. First recorded in northern Lake Michigan Near Makinak City in 1997. By 2002, they Spreads to the south of the lake..

This is Not so big hit list Of the problems they cause:

— Attaching to intake structures such as pipes and screens and clogging can be costly for water treatment and power plant maintenance.

— Adheres to the hull and engine of the boat, increasing drag, affecting steering, causing overheating and engine malfunction.

— Destroy the food chain by defeating native mussels and other filter feeder invertebrates (worms, insect larvae, etc.) for food. As a result, the food for small fish is reduced, resulting in a decrease in population. In other words, there is less food for large fish that eat small fish.

— Killed tens of thousands of birds in connection with the outbreak of bird botulism. Because quagga are greedy filtered predators, they can accumulate incredibly high levels of contaminants in their tissues and cross the food chain when contaminated mussels are eaten by predators.

— Quagga’s filtration of particulate matter improves the transparency of water. This seems to be good, except that the light penetrates deeper and changes the species composition of the aquatic plant community. As a result, this clear water can help algae outbreaks.

90% of the invertebrates that live on the bottom of Lake Michigan are invasive quaggga mussels. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)90% of the invertebrates that live on the bottom of Lake Michigan are invasive quaggga mussels. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Quagga currently accounts for 90% of the invertebrates that live on the bottom of Lake Michigan, according to reports. Still, despite all their advantages, the Quagga can fly under the radar due to some invisibility.

Mussels are not Asian carp, but jump out of the water and hit anglers on a boat.And it definitely isn’t Sea lamprey, with a nightmare mau from hell.

Among the invasive mussels, Quagga is forever playing the second banana after Zebra mussels. Continue to enjoy greater name recognition Despite being superseded by Quagga (imagine Ask Jeeves better known than Google).

Quagga mussels have many advantages over zebra cousins. It breeds deeper (found at a depth of 540 feet on Lake Michigan), is resistant to colder waters, and breeds more. In 2000, 98.3% of Lake Michigan mussels were zebra mussels. By 2005, they were extinguished by the Quagga mussel, which accounts for 97.7% of the collected mussels.

Quagga mussels are responsible for damage ranging from clogged boat engines to the devastated food chain of Lake Michigan. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)Quagga mussels are responsible for damage ranging from clogged boat engines to the devastated food chain of Lake Michigan. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Things are difficult for experts to distinguish between the two mussels.

If one has to go through only the vague idea that the black and white striped shell pattern is equal to the zebra mussels, blow the usefulness of that criterion out of the water. “Quagga” is the name of the zebra species Extinct 1880s — (a South African team is trying to make Jurassic Park Animals come to life) — Ergo and Quagga mussel are also black and white.

For unrecognizable eroded and bleached shell jumbles, such as the masses deposited on Lane Beach, scientists have suggested several ways to distinguish between quagga and zebras.

In general, zebra mussels are more triangular or D-shaped, while quaggga mussels are rounded or weeping.

“The most striking feature I know is that when placed on a flat surface, the zebras stay there, but the quaggga mussel collapses because the bottom is not flat,” said Shed’s biologist Karen Marchy. I added.

Other identification characteristics, Courtesy of the United States Geological SurveyIncludes the appearance of the ventral centerline of mussels (the line that joins the two sides of the shell).

But in doubt, Happel says Quagga is the safest bet. Zebra was defeated by Quagga At Lake Michigan. “

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 | [email protected]




The Great Lakes invaders hit Chicago beaches and no one notices | Chicago News

Source link The Great Lakes invaders hit Chicago beaches and no one notices | Chicago News

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