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Invasion of the Zebra Mussels

            From flowers to mussels invasive species are able to create havoc when they are first initiated into a new habitat. An invasive species is a non-native species that causes harm to the ecosystem into which it has been introduced. They out compete the native species because they have no natural predators in the new system. One of the worst invasive species in Canada is the zebra mussel. Zebra mussels were first spotted in the late 1980s in Lake Saint Clair, when they were accidentally introduced into North American waters. When European ships took ballast water across the Atlantic Ocean and down the St. Lawrence River, the ships brought zebra mussels; they quickly adapted to fresh water and multiplied rapidly. Since then zebra mussels have created a multi-billion-dollar threat to all water supplies across Canada. Zebra mussels have travelled from one continent to another, and even though they create many problems there are also many solutions.
             The spread of zebra mussels began more than two hundred years ago, the first time they were recorded outside of Hungary's Danube River(zebra mussels natural habitat) was in the late 1700s. Zebra mussels invaded England in 1824, and the following decades they took over England, German, and France. By the end of the century, zebra mussels had invaded most of central and western Europe as well as Great Britain. In the 20th century they invaded Scandinavia, Ireland and countries on the Mediterranean, until they reached eastward into the water ways of what used to be known as the Soviet Union(Hamilton, Super Species The Creatures That Will Dominate The Planet 189) . The first time they were seen in North America was in 1988 in Lake Saint Clair, most researchers think an European ship took ballast water across the Atlantic Ocean and down the Saint Lawrence River. When the ship stopped it dumped ballast water and the zebra mussels, since zebra mussels were away from most of their predators, they had lots of space and food to grow( Gray, Zebra Mussel 14-16).

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