NANFA-- Zebra mussels threaten underwater sites

Sajjad Lateef (
Wed, 11 Dec 2002 15:21:29 -0800 (PST)

Zebra mussels threaten ancient site
Wed Dec 11, 9:44 AM ET

By Julie Deardorff

Captivated by tales of an ancient underwater forest, Jack Fessenden, a
student at Northeastern Illinois University, recently dove through the
dark, frigid waters of Lake Michigan to see the 8,300-year-old tree
stumps for himself.

What Fessenden, 32, saw has alarmed Great Lakes researchers: Thick
layers of zebra mussels are now caked over the wooden relics,
threatening to destroy the site 15 miles northeast of Calumet Harbor.

Scientists fear that the threadlike structures zebra mussels use to
stay in place will tear apart the ancient wood within a few decades.

The recent infestation has implications that reach far beyond losing
the submerged oak, ash and hickory trees, which have been preserved in
85 feet of water for thousands of years. Clues to geological history
could be lost as well, said Michael Chrzastowski of the Illinois State
Geological Survey.


Sajjad Lateef
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