Mussel Mayhem,; August 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Zorpette; 2 Page(s)
When the first zebra mussels were spotted in Lake Erie in 1988, the Cassandras had a field day. Within weeks, there were predictions that the incredibly hardy, prolific creatures would bring on ecological and financial disaster as they wreaked havoc with the lake¿s food chain and clogged the water-intake systems of electric power stations, boat motors and drinking-water facilities.
In fact, in many ways the disaster did not live up to expectations. Chlorine and other chemicals have kept the pesky mollusks away from intakes at far lower costs than were feared. Moreover, there have even been some apparent benefits. The fat little critters are prodigious filterers, absorbing surprising amounts of a variety of pollutants from the water and storing them in their lipids. They have also consumed so much algae, their main food, that large parts of the lake have become visibly clearer.