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How does the acidity of lake water affect the hardness of Zebra mussel shells? Featured science projectScience project video


The hypothesis that a lake with more acidic water will produce  Zebra mussels with softer shells is proven correct.

Pollutant  gasses released into the atmosphere by factories and vehicles return  to us in the form of acid rain. The acidification of our oceans and fresh water lakes  threatens the survival of plants, animals and fish that live in the water. Crustaceans and clams, are now more vulnerable because their shells, which are the only protection that they have, are slowly dissolving and weakening as a result of the acidification of water bodies such as lakes and oceans.

Also consider

What would happen if this science fair project were to be repeated with seawater mussels instead of freshwater mussels?

Would your results differ if a larger sample were to e used? (ie: samples of mussel shells from 20 different lakes, of varying pH levels?) Would the results be perhaps more accurate, given the larger sample?

You should also consider checking calcium levels in the water to ascertain if this makes a difference to your results.


Mussel -
Zebra mussel -

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 1 day for observation
Material availability:
You will need access to a hardness tester. You will also require transportation to travel to the lakes to gather mussel samples
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements