Mussels, Water Clarity, and Just the Right Carp
As mankind attempts to manage the environment around us, it gets more and more complicated.
The Great Lakes are threatened by a few things. First, there are carp that belong there and big carp (!) that do NOT belong there. Add to that green mullet, which are here in Tampa bay as much as they are anywhere they've appeared in the US. They actually eat well, feed fish (or attrack them as chum if you scrape them uptide) and make the water where they live very clear. That's because they filter plankton.
So do bait fish.
Throughout the Great Lakes, ecosystem effects have become plain to see with the naked eye. Visibility from double to quadruple the former water clarity is an obvious indicator that the mussels are filtering particles of algae, zooplankton and mud that formerly clouded the water.
A group of researchers assembled through the Great Lakes fish commission have confirmed through the consolidation of their research that the quagga mussels in Lake Michigan are impacting the prey fish populations, namely alewives through the suppression of the lower food chain by their filter-feeding.
The whole story is here on The Sandusky Register.