Multiplying Mussels

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Invasive mussels muscle their way into the Great Lakes…on this CurrentCast.

You might think a creature the size of a dime is no match for a freshwater system the size of Texas, but quagga mussels are prolific breeders. Multiply one by trillions, and you get mussels that can wallop even a big body of water.

Quagga Mussel

Native to Eastern Europe, quaggas – like their cousins the zebra mussels - barged in through the ballast water discharged from ships, and were first spotted in Lake Erie in the late 80s.

Quagga mussels feed year-round on plankton and other organisms, depleting food supplies for native fish which can create a devastating domino effect in the food web. So finding a way to knock out these invaders is critical to preserving a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem.

CurrentCast is produced in partnership with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. Learn more online at

Listen to the podcast.

To report an invasive species, call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711

More invasive species info

  • GBF helps communities tackle invasive Phragmites. Learn more .
  • Stopping Asian carp in the Great Lakes. Learn more .
  • Round Goby. Short post from CurrentCast. Learn more .
  • Top 6 invasives that threaten Great Lakes wetlands. An interview with ecologist Dr. Janice Gilbert. Learn more .
  • General info on Invasive Species . Learn more .