Inferring the provenance of invasive dreissenid mussel veliger shells through trace element analysis

Project ID: 22038
Principal Investigator: Yale Passamaneck
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2022, 2023 and 2024
Keywords: None

Research Question

The proposed research aims to evaluate whether trace element analysis of dreissenid mussel veliger shells can be used to identify site specific "fingerprints" unique to the source location where the veliger was spawned and grew. Dreissenid mussel veliger shells will be collected from a variety of waterbodies and analyzed to establish whether distinct chemical signatures can be identified. It is hypothesized that the trace element fingerprints (TEFs) of veligers from different waterbodies will be sufficiently distinct from one another such that they may be distinguished and considered diagnostic of the source location. It is further hypothesized that it will be possible to identify a correlation between shell chemistry and concomitant water chemistry. This should facilitate classification of TEFs from invasive mussel veligers identified from novel locations and allow for empirical assessment as to whether the veligers grew in the sampled location or originated from a known location with an established dreissenid population.

This project aims to answer five interrelated questions:

1. Can differences be detected in the trace element compositions of dreissenid veliger shells from different waterbodies?

2. Can diagnostic TEFs be developed for dreissenid veligers from individual waterbodies?

3. Can TEFs for veliger shells be correlated to water chemistry at the sampling location?

4. How much inter-seasonal and inter-annual variation is observed it trace element measurements of veliger shells and water chemistry?

5. Can diagnostic TEFs be identified above the background noise of inter-seasonal and inter-annual variation?

Need and Benefit

The proposed work will develop a method to increase confidence in new detections of mussel veligers. This project was coordinated with Sherri Pucherelli, Invasive Species Research Coordinator. She has participated in project development, has reviewed this proposal, and will be an active key person in the project. Developing "methods to track dispersal and identify source populations" of invasive mussels was identified as an important are of study in the Invasive Mussel Research Roadmap.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20