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Great Lakes Article:

Food source for Great Lakes fish dying out
United Press International
12/18/03

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Whitefish in the Great Lakes are getting thinner because their main food source, the diporeia, a half-inch-long, shrimp-like creature, is disappearing.

Biologists at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., have found the diporeia, considered the freshwater shrimp, have been wiped out in portions of Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario -- about 17,000 square miles.

Some of the whitefish caught now are much smaller and studies on their stomachs have found that the fish have been feeding on zebra mussels and another invasive species known as quagga mussels, the Detroit News reported.

"The shells (from the mussels) pack their stomachs and they think that they are full, but the shells have no nutritional value," said Tom Nalepa, of the Great Lakes Lab.

Researchers have not been able to determine whether the diporeia decline is a result of contaminants, pathogens or predators.

Fish that rely on diporeia for food will have to find another food source or die if biologists can't find the cause and remedy the diporeia decline.

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