"Our collaborative UC Davis and University of Nevada, Reno, science team found up to 3,000 Asian clams per square meter at locations between Zephyr Point and Elk Point in the southeastern portion of the lake," said John Reuter, associate director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
"Those are high numbers, especially when compared to the few isolated, dead shells we found back in 2002 when the Asian clam was first reported. We already see associated environmental effects from the clams today, and we are concerned that they might spread.”
Issued annually since 2007, the "Tahoe: State of the Lake Report" is intended to give the public a better understanding of the changes occurring in Lake Tahoe on a year-to-year basis and to place current conditions within a historical perspective. It summarizes tens of thousands of scientific observations of lake weather, water conditions and aquatic life made since 1900. It is compiled by the research scientists of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
The dime-sized Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) that is the researchers’ top concern this year probably has been in the lake for only 10 years, but it is already replacing native pea clams in lake sediments. In the areas where they are most numerous, Asian clams comprise almost half of the benthic, or sediment-dwelling, organisms, the report says.
What's more, in the beds of Asian clams, a green filamentous alga, Zygnema, is thriving. The report says the algae probably are being nourished by the high concentrations of nutrients excreted by the clams. Dead Zygnema clumps become a nuisance when they wash onto beaches and decompose. “This moves Lake Tahoe further away from its desired pristine condition,” Reuter said.
Another worry: UC Davis and UNR researchers say accumulations of Asian clams might foster the invasion of two other damaging species: quagga and zebra mussels, which radically alter ecosystems by consuming enormous amounts of the tiny algae that are the base of lake food chains and outcompeting the native bottom-dwelling species. The mussels are also feared for their ability to encrust piers and boat hulls, and have already caused millions of dollars in damage in the Great Lakes by blocking intake pipes at water and power plants.
Zebra and quagga mussels are spreading west by hitchhiking on boat hulls, and a comprehensive program of public education and boat inspections has been established by resource managers to try to keep them out of Lake Tahoe. While Asian clams are not expected to become the colonizing monster that quagga and zebra mussels are, they may make lake waters more hospitable to the problem mussels by concentrating calcium, an essential nutrient.
In addition to the Asian clam concerns, many other trends and observations are described in the 64-page State of the Lake Report. They include:The lake’s clarity was unchanged from the previous year: The Secchi depth was 69.6 feet.
The "Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2009" is free and available online at http://terc.ucdavis.edu.
About the Tahoe Environmental Research Center
The Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on lakes and their surrounding watersheds and airsheds. Lake ecosystems include the physical, biogeochemical and human environments, and the interactions among them. The center is committed to providing objective scientific information for restoration and sustainable use of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
About UC Davis
For 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 31,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $500 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science — and advanced degrees from six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
John Reuter | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Corbicula fluminea > Environmental Research > Environmental Research Center > Invasion > Lake Baikal > Medicine > Science TV > Tahoe > Zebra mussels > Zygnema > bottom-dwelling species > deep water > environmental risk > food chain > green filamentous alga > hitchhiking on boat hulls > quagga mussels
Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding