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Foreign plankton species makes first appearance in Lake Erie

Great Lakes image. (Image courtesy MGN Online)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A type of plankton found in many parts of the world has turned up in the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Cornell University researchers detected the creature in a water sample taken from Lake Erie last year.

The rotifer species is called Brachionus leydigii, a non-native invertebrate.

Its presence has been noted in Europe, Asia and Australia. EPA says it can tolerate saltwater and freshwater environments, plus a wide range of temperatures.

The agency says there's little if any evidence the newcomer will harm the environment or the economy if it becomes established in the Great Lakes, where other exotic species have done significant damage.

But EPA says there's also little reason to believe the newly arrived zooplankton will do any good.

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