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New national map shows relative risk for zebra and quagga mussel invasion
Date:12/3/2007

There is considerable interest in determining the range of habitats an invasive alien species could possibly reach. Since its discovery in the Great Lakes, the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) has spread rapidly throughout waterways in the eastern US, negatively impacting ecosystems and infrastructure. A close relative of the zebra mussel and also of the Dreissena genus is the more slowly-spreading quagga mussel (D bugensis), found primarily in the Great Lakes

Based on published reports of the species preferred habitats and needs for survival, Thomas Whittier (Oregon State University) Paul Ringold (US Environmental Protection Agency), Alan Herlily(Oregon State University) and Suzanne Pierson (Indus Corporation) created a map to better determine where the quagga and zebra mussel may appear next, in their paper A calcium-based risk assessment for zebra mussel and quagga mussel (Dreissena spp) invasion. Their research appears in the online e-view version of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

According to the authors, The rate of zebra mussel expansion was rapid from its discovery in 1988. After 1994, the rate of expansion slowed considerably.

While expansion of the zebra mussels range continues in the Great Lakes and other inland locations, there has been no invasion of New England, the mid-Atlantic Piedmont and Coastal Plains, the Southeast, or areas west of the 100th meridian, despite climates and other conditions favorable for the organisms.

Another Dreissena species, the quagga mussel was discovered in 1989 in the Great Lakes. It received less attention, as it appeared to be confined to deeper waters. However, as the quagga mussel spread, it began to dominate shallower waters previously occupied by zebra mussels, said the researchers.

Originally limited to the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River, the picture of a slow replacement by quagga mussels changed suddenly with the discovery of well-established
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Contact: Annie Drinkard
annie@esa.org
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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