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Cornell scientists find new non-native species in Lake Erie

A water sample containing a previously undiscovered non-native species of zooplankton was found in western Lake Erie.

The species, Brachionus leydigii, joins a list of more than 180 non-native species already logged in Lake Erie. It is most common in Europe, Asia and Australia.

"This is significant because new discoveries of non-native species in the Great Lakes have been rare in the last 10 years," according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Of the 20 sampling locations on Lake Erie, only a single Brachionus leydigii was found. It was taken from a sample collected in western Lake Erie near Canada. (EPA)

A single female zooplankton, about one-quarter millimeter in size, was found in June by Cornell University researchers working with the EPA in one sample taken just west of Point Pelee National Park in Ontario in 2016.

Officials said it's still unclear how the species, which feeds on bacteria, could impact the lake's ecosystem.



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