Biodensities of Lake Michigan Aquatic Life between 2005 and 2010

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Paul Pearson and Dr. Yew-Meng Koh

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Event Date



Since the 1980s there has been an increase in the biodensities of zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes. Zebra and quagga mussels mainly feed on phytoplankton. In the natural food web, phytoplankton are zooplankton’s main source of food. However, with the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels, zooplankton are now competing with the mussels for food. Our project compares the biodensities of zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and zooplankton between the years of 2005 and 2010 in Lake Michigan. Based off the natural food web, we expect to see an increase in zebra and quagga mussels and a decrease in zooplankton. From the analysis of the data, we concluded that zooplankton and zebra mussel densities had a significant decrease in biodensity between 2005 and 2010, while quagga mussels had a significant increase in biodensity. Looking back on our hypothesis, the results of the statistical tests do not match up with what we had predicted. However, we could infer that zebra mussels and quagga mussels together are not significantly impacting the zooplankton population.


This research was supported by the Day1 Program through a grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

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