Friday, 14 March 2014

European water flea infestation threatens US ecosystem

A clump of spiny water fleas collected from the Lake Superior shoreline. These small predators are eating the bottom out of aquatic food chains in the Upper Midwest. Copyright: Jaime LeDuc

March 2014: A tiny, spikey, water-borne flea that came from Scandanavia and Northern Europe is threatening the ecosystem of a band of inland lakes stretching from eastern Ontario to northern Minnesota and in the cooler Great Lakes in the USA say scientists.

The fleas came over to the States in the 1980s by ships loading ballast in one part of the world and dumping it in another.

The results of this invasion has been catastrophic on planktonic organisms as they can consume between 10 and 20 a day and reports show numbers have dropped by up to 80 per cent, which in turn could have a negative affect on fish. 

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