General EcologyThe possible commensal relationship between benthic algae and zebra mussels occupying the same rocky substrate was studied at Douglas Lake in Pellston, Michigan. Chlorophyll a tests were used to analyze benthic algae concentrations on three different treatments: rocks with live zebra mussels, rocks with dead zebra mussels, and rocks with no zebra mussels with expectations to find that rocks with zebra mussels have higher benthic algae concentrations than rocks with no zebra mussels, and rocks with live zebra mussels have higher benthic algae density than rocks with dead zebra mussels. The study was divided into field survey, field study and laboratory study. In the field survey, I observed a trend that showed higher benthic algae concentration on rocks with zebra mussels; however, it was statistically insignificant. I compared the chlorophyll a concentration found on rocks with live and dead zebra mussels with rocks without zebra mussels for the field and laboratory studies, and found a significant difference in the field study, which showed that rocks with zebra mussels had higher benthic algae concentration. Finally, I compared rocks with live zebra mussels and dead zebra mussels and found an insignificant difference between the two treatments for the field and laboratory study, even though the trends showed a higher concentration of benthic algae on rocks with dead zebra mussels. Since rocks with zebra mussels showed a higher concentration of benthic algae in general, a commensal relationship between the two organisms is possible
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