Assessment of organic substrates as sites for zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) attachment in four West-Central Minnesota Lakes
Author: Londo A.R., Fischer S.J., Krenz J.D., and Collison R.M.
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1080/02705060.2021.2019137
Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are an aquatic invasive species generalist with known ecological and economic impacts due to their settlement and attachment characteristics as well as their filtration abilities. Although zebra mussel attachment to abiotic substrates has been extensively studied, the importance of organic substrates for established zebra mussel populations in North American waters has not been evaluated. We assessed organic substrates in four west-central Minnesota lakes. Using qualitative analysis, we found most substrates were used proportionally to their availability. A quantitative assessment revealed significantly more zebra mussels attached to detritus than pondweeds (P < 0.05). Algae (filamentous and Chara spp.) were a significant suitable substrate for zebra mussel attachment (P < 0.05). Furthermore, more juvenile zebra mussels were found on organic substrates than were adults (P < 0.001). Although not always a consistent substrate, biological material as a vector for zebra mussel spread and settlement should be considered in further research to mitigate subsequent invasions and manage already naturalized populations.