Changes in the bottom fauna of western Lake Erie

By:  and 
Edited by: M. MunawarT. Edsall, and I.F. Munawar


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The bottom fauna of western Lake Erie has changed dramatically over the past 50 years in response to environmental degradation and biological invasions. In 1953, low dissolved oxygen reduced the biodiversity of that fauna, especially burrowing mayflies and freshwater mussels (Unionidae). Canada and the United States signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. By 1982, over 7 billion dollars were spent to improve wastewater treatment plants in the Great Lakes Basin. To assess how the bottom fauna responded to pollution abatement measures, we studied the distribution, abundance, and diversity of bottom fauna in western Lake Erie in 1982 and compared our findings to those of Carr and Hiltunen (1965). Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) invaded Lake Erie in 1986 and greatly altered these waters. For perspective, we also compared our results to bottom fauna present at the same stations in 1930 (by reference to data in Carr and Hiltunen, 1965) and reviewed the responses of burrowing mayflies and freshwater mussels to the zebra mussel invasion.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Changes in the bottom fauna of western Lake Erie
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher Backhuys Publishers
Publisher location Leiden, The Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description p. 197-217
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title State of Lake Erie: Past, present, and future
First page 197
Last page 217