Evaluation of veliger survival on boats

Project ID: 19011
Principal Investigator: Sherri Pucherelli
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019, 2020 and 2021
Keywords: None

Research Question

The goal of this research project is to better understand the effectiveness and limitations of current boat
decontamination protocols and to possibly test alternative methods. Data will be gathered to determine if mussel DNA
is detected on infested boats that have been decontaminated and to determine if mussels survive, and if DNA persists
inside mussels that have been exposed to a range of temperatures experienced during the decontamination process.
The effectiveness of dip-tank methods for decontamination may also be examined.

Need and Benefit

Boat inspection and decontamination programs have been implemented in an attempt to prevent the spread of
invasive mussels. If a boat has been on an infested water the boat will be decontaminated with hot water at high
pressure and will be quarantined for an appropriate dry time. Although this method was found to be effective at
optimum conditions, recent studies have found that it is difficult to maintain optimum water temperatures in the field,
and it is unclear if enclosed compartments like ballast tanks are being exposed to a treatment that would kill veligers.
Additionally, little is known about the effectiveness of boat decontamination protocols on mussel DNA. The possibility
that DNA could be detected on a boat that has been effectively decontaminated of live mussels is a concern to water
managers, as early detection monitoring often includes environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling.
Although Reclamation is not directly involved in boat inspection and decontamination programs we do provide funding
to these programs. All Reclamation regions directly benefit from boat inspection and decontamination programs as
they help protect our reservoirs from the spread of invasive mussels. Therefore, Reclamation has an interest in
research that will provide information about the effectiveness of boat decontamination protocols.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20