Relationship Between Dressenid Mussel Infestations and Microcystis Blooms

Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Location: Ohio, Michigan

Treatment Type: N/A

Treatment Method Used: N/A

This research project investigated the impacts of dressenid mussel infestations on the occurrence of Microcystis blooms. Feeding and nutrient experiments, genetic studies, and mussel behavioral observations were conducted in both the laboratory and in field enclosures. Mussels were exposed to different Microcystis strains native to Michigan and Ohio. Enclosure experiments were conducted in Gull Lake, Saginaw Bay, and Lake Erie. Results show that when the abundance of dreissenid mussels relative to algal growth rate is high, mussels will likely contribute to Microcystis dominance.


Vanderploeg, H. A., Liebig, J. R., Carmichael, W. W., Agy, M. A., Johengen, T. H., Fahnenstiel, G. L., & Nalepa, T. F. (2001). Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) selective filtration promoted toxic Microcystis blooms in Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron) and Lake Erie. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 58(6), 1208-1221.

Partner Agencies: 

University of Michigan,
Michigan State University,
University of Wisconsin


James Larson, U.S. Geological Survey

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