Activities

Invasive Mussels

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

Nonnative or invasive species are a huge problem worldwide. They may look like they fit in, but invasive species crowd out native ones and gobble up nutrients. Once they get a foothold, they're tough to get rid of them. In this activity, you'll look at the problems caused by invasive mussels in waterways of the United States.

  1. Go to the USGS Zebra Mussel information page. Scroll to Real Time Maps, then click Current Zebra Mussel Sightings. How widespread are zebra mussels in the U.S.?
  2. Explore the U.S. Distribution Maps from 1988 to the current year. Describe how zebra mussels have spread since 1988.
  3. Look at this Zebra Mussel fact sheet. Scroll to zebra mussel Identification below the pictures. Where are zebra mussels typically found?
  4. Scroll to Native Range. Where are zebra mussels native to?
  5. Scroll Non-indigenous Occurrences. When and where did the mussels reach North America?
  6. Scroll to Means of Introduction. How did the mussels first get into the Great Lakes?
  7. Continue to Impact of Introduction. Summarize the impact the invasive species has had.
  8. What effects do the mussels have on food webs of an ecosystem? Give examples.