Environmental science

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Instructor’s Name:


Assignment: Lab Report


Title: Identifying Environmental Hazards 


Instructions: You will write a 1-page lab report using the scientific method to answer the following questions:


• Why do you see increases and decreases in the invasive species population?
• What are the implications associated with these alterations to the ecosystemas a whole?


When your lab report is complete, post it in Submitted Assignment files.


Part I: Using the lab animation, fill in the data table below to help you generate your hypothesis, outcomes, and analysis.



Zebra and Quagga Mussel (density/m2)

Phytoplankton (µg/ml)

Zooplankton (µg/ml)

CladophoraBiomass (g/m2)

Foraging Fish (kilotons)

Lake Trout (kilotons)



















































Part II: Write a 1-page lab report using the following scientific method sections: 

• Purpose
State the purpose of the lab. 
• Introduction
This is an investigation of what is currently known about the question being asked. Use background information from credible references to write a short summary about concepts in the lab. List and cite references in APA style. 
• Hypothesis/Predicted Outcome
hypothesis is an educated guess. Based on what you have learned and written about in the Introduction, state what you expect to be the results of the lab procedures. 
• Methods
Summarize the procedures that you used in the lab. The Methods section should also state clearly how data (numbers) were collected during the lab; this will be reported in the Results/Outcome section. 
• Results/Outcome
Provide here any results or data that were generated while doing the lab procedure. 
• Discussion/Analysis
In this section, state clearly whether you obtained the expected results, and if the outcome was as expected.
Note: You can use the lab data to help you discuss the results and what you learned. 

Provide references in APA format. This includes a reference list and in-text citations for references used in the Introduction section. 

Give your paper a title and number, and identify each section as specified above. Although the hypothesis will be a 1-sentence answer, the other sections will need to be paragraphs to adequately explain your experiment.


Part 1:

How Did They Get Here?

Prior to a transatlantic journey, unladen cargo ships leaving port must first transfer millions of gallons of local water into their ships to act as a ballast as they travel along the ocean. Within their ballast can be thousands of organisms that are indigenous to the area where the ship’s ballasts were filled. Once these ships make their way to their destination, they dump their ballast water so that they can pick up their cargo for the return journey. It is this repeated and unregulated process of cargo ships traveling from Europe to inland North America—which has been going on since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959—that is believed to have led to the first observation of the buildup of zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes in the 1980s.


Zebra and quagga mussels are built to avoid environmental resistance and have the greatest biotic potential in the Great Lakes. The abiotic conditions in the Great Lakes are optimal for the mussels for the following reasons: 

  • The environment provides hard rocky substratum for their attachment 
  • There are ideal summer water temperatures, pH levels, and calcium concentrations. 
  • Further ideas for their success in North America are based upon the lack of effective predators and pathogens to regulate their numbers. 

Why Do They Stay?

Zebra and quagga mussels exploit a niche on exposed wet-hard substratum in the wave-swept shore conditions of freshwater lakes and rivers. This is a habitat that was not exploited by organisms, but it is currently under post-zebra and quagga mussel invasion, which is further contributing to their ease of expansion.

Part 2 : Timeline



  1. Zebra and quagga mussels have the ability to filter a photosynthetic group of organisms known as phytoplankton from the water. 
  2. Their individual filtration rates can be up to 12.4 liters per day. 
  3. Their numbers have been noted to be as high as 750,000 individuals per square meter on manmade structures. 
  4. Their invasion can be linked to effectively removing a very large percentage of the phytoplankton from the water. Phytoplankton are a keystone group of primary producers that form the base of the food web within many freshwater ecosystems. 
  5. As phytoplankton are removed, their primary consumers, the zooplankton, become reduced. 
  6. As the zooplankton become reduced, this is followed by foraging fish and predators that feed on those fish. 
  7. Algae (plant life) known as Cladophora has shown a correlation with the success of zebra and quagga mussels. Nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, have been found to increase in the presence of zebra and quagga mussels. COproduction is increased because of their respiration. All of these components are important in sustaining plants and algae. As the Cladophora builds up along the coast, it will collect bird droppings that harbor E. coli bacteria, leading to fecal contamination of the surrounding water.

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