Author

Sarah Abusaa

Date of Award

2014

First Advisor

Donald Roeder

Second Advisor

Robert Schmidt

Third Advisor

Stephen Wagener

Abstract

The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is a non-native invasive species that in 2009 was found in Laurel Lake in Lee, MA. Zebra mussels are filter feeders that dominate the energy flow of benthic lake systems by over-filtering particles that were previously food sources for other lake fauna. They also cause biofouling as a result of their ability to bind to a variety of hard substrates. The planktonic larval stage, known as a veliger, disperses via waterways and overland transportation to non-infested impoundments. Their presence has not been previously confirmed in the Housatonic River, though it has been speculated as the adults are present in several lakes and impoundments in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Water samples were collected from the Housatonic River between Laurel Lake and the Massachusetts/Connecticut border and the presence of veligers confirmed by microscopy. Their population density was calculated in order to explore their dispersal patterns, which may be useful in developing further management tactics, several of which are explored in this thesis.

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