Sea Lamprey Research Paper

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The sea lamprey is an invasive species to the Great Lakes region that has had a devastating impact on the nearby fishing industries and fish populations. There are methods of controlling the sea lamprey’s numbers, but we need to invest in the most effective forms to truly save the Great Lakes economy and environment. This jawless, eel-like vertebrate is a terrifying creature. It is similar to the shark in that it has no bones, only cartilage. The sea lamprey goes through four stages during its life cycle; ammocoetes, transformers, parasitic juveniles, and sexually mature adults. Having hatched in slow-moving, freshwater streams, the larval sea lamprey is a small, blind filter feeder that burrows into the sand. After one to seven years in the larvae stage, the ammocoetes undergo metamorphosis through the transformer stage, into parasitic juveniles. While metamorphosing, the ammocoete will gain eyes, a disk shaped mouth with over one hundred razor-sharp teeth, and grating tongue, and their kidneys will change, allowing them to live in saltwater. The sea lamprey then swims downstream into the saltwater and searches for hosts in deeper waters. While in the parasitic stage, the sea lamprey will use its suction cup mouth to latch onto its…show more content…
This destructive species has had a catastrophic effect on local fish populations, which in turn has significantly lowered the amount of fish available to the local fishing industries. They feed on prized fishing game such as trout, salmon, and whitefish, which help support the local fishing industries, worth $7 billion annually. The prey of sea lamprey are the predators of another invasive species, the alewife, and because of their lowered populations, the alewife populations have exploded. This is a cause for concern for local tourism because the alewife goes through annual summer dieoffs, which litter the beach with thousand of dead fish. (Budget Summary 1)(DeBoer

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