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Red-breasted Mergansers<br />dead of Type E Botulism on Lake Erie, 1999. Photo by I.K. Barker
Red-breasted Mergansers
dead of Type E Botulism on Lake Erie, 1999. Photo by I.K. Barker

Profs Troll for Botulism Cause

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Two Clarkson University professors are trying to determine what causes a potentially fatal disease in birds and fish. Earlier this month, two dead seagulls in Cape Vincent tested positive for Type E Botulism. It was the first time the disease was identified on the St. Lawrence River. Botulism can harm humans who eat birds or fish poisoned with the toxin. David Sommerstein spoke with Tom Langen, a biology professor at Clarkson. He and colleague Michael Twiss are testing dead birds and fish on the St. Lawrence. Type E Botulism first showed up in the Great Lakes in 1998. Langen's hypothesis is that it's tied to invasive species like the round goby and zebra and quagga mussels.

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