Zebra mussel (2020) – seasonal and spatial variation in growth and abundance

Seasonal and Spatial Variation in Growth and Abundance of Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in a Recently Invaded Artificial Lake: Implications for Management.

This study investigated how zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) growth and abundance varied over a one year (June 2017 – May 2018) inside Cardiff Bay, Wales.

© Paul Beckwith BWW

Experimental buoys were deployed across four sites comprising of three panels sitting at different depths. Every month, 25% of each panel was scraped clean regardless of D. polymorpha settlement and samples taken to the laboratory for further analysis. Linear mixed effect models were used to calculate D. polymorpha densities, revealing at the highest peak in August and September an estimated 18,000 individuals/m2 could settle in favourable habitats. D. polymorpha populations were observed to readily attach to the panels between June and October before sharply declining in November due to the end of the spawning season.

This study also suggested that D. polymorpha may be spatially structured into different cohorts that grow and settle onto structures at different rates. This hypothesis has implications that D. polymorpha populations may react differently in each new habitat, meaning that current limited control methods may need to be developed further to ensure total D. polymorpha removal.


Rolla, M., Consuegra, S., Hall, D.J. and Garcia de Leaniz, C. (2020). Seasonal and Spatial Variation in Growth and Abundance of Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in a Recently Invaded Artificial Lake: Implications for Management. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8:159. 

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Invasive Species Ireland

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