Studying the Morphology of Invasive Mussel Veligers Using 3D Models Created With a Scanning Electron Microscope

Project ID: 4176
Principal Investigator: Audrey Rager
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016 and 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can we continue to use 3D models of mussel larvae (veligers) 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?
This is a continuation of an FY15 scoping study (Project ID 7361).

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). The
purpose of this scoping study is to determine whether 3D images of zebra and quagga veligers created with a
scanning electron microscope could air Detection Laboratory biologists in identifying and studying morphological
differences and changes in invasive mussels.

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: 4/4/17