Invasive Mussel Veliger Morphology

Project ID: 1875
Principal Investigator: Audrey Rager
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2018 and 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can we continue to use 3D models of mussel larvae (veligers) to help biologists better identify invasive mussel species before they become a problem? What can this method tell us about the morphological differences between and among veligers of various mussel species? What can this method tell us about the efficacy of methods used in other studies to prevent mussels from attaching to BOR structures?

Need and Benefit

Zebra and quagga mussels are prolific breeders, clogging water intake structures that impact water treatment facilities and power-producing infrastructure. Because adult populations are difficult to discover by normal field samples procedures, the Reclamation Detection Laboratory for Invasive and Native Species has discovered that identifying the mussels in their veliger stages gives water managers an earlier warning about a possible infestation than waiting for adult populations. Veligers, the larval form of mussels and other bivalves, are microscopic (between 97 and 492 microns) and are best identified using a SEM. This research builds upon studies to identify veligers by collecting additional data through little additional labor and cost to build 3D models and increase our understanding of these invasive species.

This study will improve our understanding of morphological differences related to geography and/or genetics and to determine the efficacy of methods used to deter or prevent the growth of mussels on BOR structures.

Zebra and quagga mussels are prolific breeders, clogging water intake structures that impact water treatment facilities and power-producing infrastructure. This research supports our understanding of invasive mussel morphology and biology and BOR's efforts to eliminate their growth and distribution.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Invasive Mussel Veliger Morphology (final, PDF, 331KB)
By Audrey Rager
Research Product completed on September 30, 2018

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17