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December 9, 2004

The hull of this pontoon boat is encrusted with zebra mussels.

The hull of this pontoon boat is encrusted with zebra mussels. The bivalves were introduced to the United States in the 1980s, probably as stowaways in the ballast of a ship that traveled from Europe to the Great Lakes. Without natural predators, the mussels spread throughout America's waterways, infesting ships and infrastructure and competing for resources with native species. Wilker and his team are studying the properties of zebra mussel glue to find ways to prevent the animals from hitching rides on vessels.

Credit: Jonathan Wilker of Purdue University, NSF

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