When people talk about restoring the Great Lakes, they’re not looking back as far as John Janssen, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Scientists.
“I want to bring the coral reefs back,” Janssen said.
Ancient coral reefs are peppered throughout some of the Great Lakes where glaciers carved out tough rock formations 400 million years ago.
Remnants of reefs can be seen on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, the Bruce Peninsula of Lake Huron, the southwestern side of Lake Erie and near Niagara Falls. Lake Superior is the only lake that never had reefs.
In 2001, Janssen shot a video of an ancient reef outside of Highland Park, Ill.
If he were to go back and take more footage today, the scene would be quite different. The zebra mussels would be replaced with quagga mussels, and round gobies would be appearing in abundance.
Footage taken by John Janssen of the Great Lakes WATER Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Video provided by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory – GLERL
Featured image: Wendy S. Smith (Flickr)