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Deadly Chain Reaction Triggered by Zebra Mussels
Thousands of dead loons washed up on the Michigan shore after falling victim to botulism. The die-off is part of a chain of events that begin with zebra mussels.

Botulism, a disease that attacks the nervous system of its victims, commonly waterfowl of various species, including loons seems to be the cause of mass loon die-offs in the Great Lakes.

The toxic agent that kills them actually forms when algae decompose in the lakes’ depths, depleting oxygen levels. This allows the toxin to grow and eventually become part of a lake’s food chain.

Though the decaying algae and the botulism toxin are not new to the Great Lakes, the production of this killer has accelerated. The apparent culprit is an invasive species we have all heard much about, the zebra mussel, introduced in the ballast water of ocean-going ships traveling the Great Lakes in the 1980s.


 
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Armored Shore Kills Habitat - On the banks of the Potomac River, construction cranes deliver concrete and other heavy material to workers building a large development behind a steel-and-cement wall that holds back the water. If the trend continues, numerous species in the bay will continue to decline.


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