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Impacts of aquatic nonindigenous invasive species on the Lake Erie ecosystem

January 1, 2002

Lake Erie is particularly vulnerable to the introduction and establishment of aquatic nonindigenous invasive species (NIS) populations. A minimum of 144 aquatic NIS have been recorded in the Lake Erie basin including several species [e.g., Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum); zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha); quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis); an amphipod (Echinogammarus ischnus); round goby (Neogobius melanostomus); and sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)] that have had discernible impacts on the lake's ecology. NIS pose threats to the Lake Erie ecosystem for a variety of reasons including their ability to proliferate quickly, compete with native species, and transfer contaminants (e.g., PCBs) and disease through the food web. Six of the 14 beneficial use impairments listed in Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement are impaired in Lake Erie, in part as a result of the introduction of NIS. The Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) has adopted an ecosystem approach to restore beneficial use impairments in the lake. Furthermore, a research consortium, known as the Lake Erie Millennium Network, is working alongside the LaMP, to address research problems regarding NIS, the loss of habitat, and the role of contaminants in the Lake Erie ecosystem.

Publication Year 2002
Title Impacts of aquatic nonindigenous invasive species on the Lake Erie ecosystem
Authors Madeline J.W. Austen, Jan J.H. Ciborowski, Lynda D. Corkum, Tim B. Johnson, Hugh J. MacIsaac, Janice L. Metcalfe-Smith, Donald W. Schloesser, Sandra E. George
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70171312
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center