Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lakes With Zebra Mussels Have Higher Levels Of Toxins

Date:
March 11, 2004
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Inland lakes in Michigan that have been invaded by zebra mussels, an exotic species that has plagued bodies of water in several states since the 1980s, have higher levels of algae that produce a toxin that can be harmful to humans and animals, according to a Michigan State University researcher.

Zebra mussel (Michigan State University)

Inland lakes in Michigan that have been invaded by zebra mussels, an exotic species that has plagued bodies of water in several states since the 1980s, have higher levels of algae that produce a toxin that can be harmful to humans and animals, according to a Michigan State University researcher.

Related Articles


In a paper published in the recent issue of Limnology and Oceanography, Orlando "Ace" Sarnelle, an associate professor in MSU's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and colleagues report that lakes that are home to zebra mussels have, on average, three times higher levels of a species of blue-green algae known as Microcystis.

Those same lakes also have about two times higher levels of microcystins, a toxin produced by the algae.

"If these blooms of blue-green algae are a common side effect of zebra mussel invasion, then hard-fought gains in the restoration of water quality may be undone," Sarnelle said. "Right now, it appears that the numbers of blooms in Michigan have been increasing and appear to be correlated with the spread of zebra mussels."

Initially, water samples were taken from nearly 100 inland lakes in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, ranging from Benzie County in the northwest to Oakland County in the southeast, that had established zebra mussel populations.

Follow-up experiments by Sarnelle and colleagues in west Michigan's Gull Lake showed that zebra mussels are indeed the cause of the increase in toxic algae.

There have been documented cases in which animals, including cattle and dogs, died after drinking water with high levels of microcystins. The toxin is also believed to be responsible for liver damage in humans.

Surprisingly, zebra mussels seem to have no effect on the amount of blue-green algae in lakes with high levels of phosphorus, a nutrient that builds up in lakes and other bodies of water as a result of erosion, farm run-off and human waste.

In contrast, zebra mussels cause an increase in toxic Microcystis in lakes with low to moderate levels of phosphorus, anywhere between 10 and 25 micrograms per liter. Such lakes are not normally expected to have very many blue-green algae, Sarnelle said.

"Our data suggest that zebra mussels promote Microcystis at low to medium phosphorus levels – not at very low or very high phosphorus levels," he said. "However, we're still not sure why this happens."

Zebra mussels have been causing problems in the Great Lakes since the late 1980s. For example, in Lake Erie, Sarnelle said, increased incidence of blue-green algae blooms have been reported since the establishment of zebra mussels.

"Similarly, data from the Bay of Quinte in Lake Ontario show a dramatic increase in the biomass of Microcystis after zebra mussel establishment," he said. "In addition, toxic algal blooms in Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie are disturbing because they come after many years of expensive reductions in nutrient loading to improve water quality."

Zebra mussels, which are native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia, were first discovered in Lake St. Clair in 1988. It's believed they were transported to the Great Lakes via ballast water from a transoceanic vessel.

Since then, they have spread to all of the Great Lakes, as well as many other U.S. and Canadian inland lakes and rivers.

Sarnelle's co-authors on the paper are Alan Wilson of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and David Raikow and Stephen Hamilton of the MSU Department of Zoology and Kellogg Biological Station.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Lakes With Zebra Mussels Have Higher Levels Of Toxins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040311072359.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2004, March 11). Lakes With Zebra Mussels Have Higher Levels Of Toxins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040311072359.htm
Michigan State University. "Lakes With Zebra Mussels Have Higher Levels Of Toxins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040311072359.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins