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updated: 3/25/2014 7:03 AM

Algae could provide weapon against invader mussels

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Associated Press

DETROIT -- Scientists at Wayne State University are researching how algae might help disrupt reproduction of zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes.

Biologist Donna Kashian says preliminary study indicates algae produce chemicals that may inhibit the invasive mussels' spawning. She and physiologist Jeffrey Ram are trying to identify chemical cues the algae release and determine how they could be used to develop a control strategy.

It would be a cleaner alternative to attacking the mussels with toxic chemicals.

The research eventually might help curb the destructive mussels, which have caused widespread damage to the lakes since arriving in the 1980s in ballast tanks of oceangoing ships.

The filter feeders deprive fish of food, crowd out native mussels and clog water intake pipes.

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