Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2008NV137B

Quagga Mussel Invasion in Lake Mead: Ecological Impact and Containment

Institute: Nevada
Year Established: 2008 Start Date: 2008-03-01 End Date: 2011-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $46,616 Total Non-Federal Funds: $94,227

Principal Investigators: Kumud Acharya, Charalambos Papelis, Mark Stone

Abstract: Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US and one of the most important water resources in the West. In January of 2007, Quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) were discovered in Lake Mead, for the first time west of the 100th meridian. This invasive species and the related Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) have disrupted ecosystems in a number of waterways elsewhere in the US and have cost billions of dollars in control efforts. Given the seriousness of the recent Quagga mussel invasion for the ecology and economy of the broader region, and for the overall management of the important water resources of the region, the primary goal of the proposed research is to study the ecology and biology of Quagga mussels and their impact on aquatic biodiversity and water quality in Lake Mead. Specifically, under the proposed research plan we will study 1) the scale of invasion; 2) the ecological impact of the invasion; 3) the physiological ecology of the Quagga mussel; 4) the phylogenetics and population structures of the Quagga mussel; 5) the potential of Quagga mussels to bioaccumulate metalloids under local conditions; and 6) we will complete a preliminary ecological modeling and risk assessment. This study will use and contribute to the collection of data on Quagga mussels already under way by local, state, and federal agencies. The proposed study will also contribute to the development of local expertise, necessary to address this serious ecological and economic problem. Results will be published in peer reviewed journals and communicated to the public, in an effort to educate the public and to limit the negative impacts of the invasion. Finally, the experience and data collected from the proposed study will be used to support competitive proposals to national funding agencies to further contribute to our understanding of the problem and viable management strategies.