The zebra mussel invasion is a fast spreading problem and is affecting the environment. The zebra mussel is a little fresh water seashell looking creature, with zebra-like stripes on its shell. Over the past 20 years, the zebra mussel population has increased by the millions. The invasion started in the great lakes but have now spread as far south as Louisiana and as far west as California. These mussels have a mind-blowing reproductive rate and no predators in North America. In five years, one mussel produces about 5 million eggs. (We need your help! (n.d.). Retrieved August 5, 2015). This creature feeds on plankton and purifies water. Although purifying water sounds good, but with the lack of plankton, fish and other aquatic animals are left without enough food to survive and, as a result, their population decline. Zebra mussels don’t have much nutritional value and are very low in fat, so when fish eat them, they use a lot of their energy trying to crack the shell and are not replaced when they finally eat the mussel. There are many things that are being done to try to stop this invasion. These Zebra mussels are being spread two ways by veliger’s in water and/or as adults adhere to boat engines, fishing nets, etc. One way to stop this invasion is to encourage boat owners to clean their anchor, nets, centerboards, wheels, etc., before leaving the fishing area. An advantage of this tactic is it doesn’t cost anything to do and everyone can do it.
The disadvantage of this tactic is its very time consuming. Another tactic to help stop this invasion that scientist came up with is the use of chemicals. (We need your help! (n.d.). Retrieved August 5, 2015). For about eight scientists have been testing about 6,000 different chemicals that would kill these mussels without harming other fish. Joyfully they found one which is called the “TFM”. This chemical