Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Consider the Invader: Minor Differences May Have Major Impact

11.12.2014

The interaction between invasive species may have a significant effect on affected native species

The effect of invasive species on native species can be profound, yet very little is known about the complex interaction between the invaders and the native species, or, perhaps more importantly, between multiple invaders and native species.


L. Burlakova

Quagga mussel on unionid (top); zebra mussel on unionid (bottom

In a research paper “Complex replacement of invasive congeners may relax impact on native species: interactions among zebra, quagga, and native unionid mussels,” lead author Lyubov E. Burlakova, research scientist with the Great Lakes Center at SUNY Buffalo State discusses the importance of understanding those interactions. The study was published online in PLOS ONE on December 9, 2014.

The study, which was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, focused on the impact of the invasion of Dreissena polymorpha, the zebra mussel, and Dreissena rostriformis bugensis, the quagga mussel, on native mussels. Both zebra and quagga mussels invaded the Great Lakes at the same time.

“Our findings strongly suggest that that the effect of different species is much stronger than the effect of time since the invasion on the level of unionid infestation,” said Burlakova. The freshwater bivalves of the family Unionidae—the family to which native mussels belong in the bodies of water studied—declined sharply after the Dreissena invasion. This effect was first detected in the late 1980s.

Although there had been a strong decline in diversity and abundance of unionids before the Dreissena invasion due to habitat destruction and deterioration of water quality, the appearance of Dreissena accelerated that decline dramatically. For example, the number of native unionid species dropped from 18 to 5 in Lake St. Clair after zebra mussel invasion.

To evaluate the effect of both dreissenid species on unionids in the lower Great Lakes region after 25 years of invasion, researchers analyzed data on more than 4,000 unionids from 26 species that were collected at multiple sites in lakes Erie, Ontario and St. Clair, the Detroit River, and inland lakes in Michigan in 2011–2012. Infestation was measured by examining unionids to see if either zebra or quagga mussels were attached to them or had been attached previously. The presence of connecting threads—protein threads called byssal threads— indicated earlier infestation.

The most important finding was that despite the many similarities between Dreissena species, quagga mussels infested unionids less severely than zebra mussels. Therefore ongoing replacement of zebra with quagga mussels in the Great Lakes Region relaxes Dreissena impact on native unionids. Infestation, or the number of dreissenids attached to native unionids, had declined by 2011–2012 in lakes dominated by quagga mussels to almost one-tenth of the numbers found in the 1990s. In contrast, unionids are still heavily infested in waterbodies dominated by zebra mussels.

The research study considered both life history and ecological traits of unionid species, and found no significant difference in infestation among them. This suggests that susceptibility to infestation among native mussels was not a significant predictor of the impact of a Dreissena invasion.

Instead, the study suggests that biological differences between these two notorious closely related invasive species that are generally perceived as minor, such as the synthesis rate and attachment strength of the threads used by Dreissena to attach themselves to native unionids, can drive profound differences in environmental impacts on native communities they invade.

Contact Information
Mary Durlak
Senior Writer
durlakma@buffalostate.edu
Phone: 716-878-3517

Mary Durlak | newswise
Further information:
http://www.buffalostate.edu

Further reports about: Great Lakes Wildlife invasive invasive species mussels native species quagga mussels species zebra

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>