mussels are filter feeders. They filter suspended material out of the water
column and transfer it to the benthos or bottom of water bodies. This can
result in a decrease in the amount of chlorophyll, phytoplankton, and primary
production in a water body.
can also suppress zooplankton populations by filtering water. In areas of
eastern Europe, the biomass of phytoplankton and zooplannkton decreased more
than 10-fold following the introduction of zebra mussels (Karatayev et al.
|In addition, the
decline in zooplankton populations due to zebra mussel filtration can also
affect fish community structure. In particular, reducing the amount of
zooplankton available can affect the growth of fish that are planktivorous at
some point in their development (MacIsaac 1996).
|The aquatic food
web can be like a house of cards, with a precarious balance from
phytoplankton to zooplankton to planktivorous fish to piscivorous fish. If
zebra mussels wipe out the lower trophic levels, the entire food web can