Lake Tahoe more vulnerable to quagga mussel invasion than previously thought

By on March 11, 2015
Quagga Mussels on a sediment sample. (Credit: NOAA)

Experts had long hoped that low-calcium waters could shield Lake Tahoe from the invasive quagga mussel, but it appears they won’t make much difference, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno dispelled that hope by discovering that the mussels could thrive in the lake.

The prime spots for quagga mussels to move in are the ones where other aquatic invasives are already present, say scientists at the university. In these areas, the mussels could easily live and reproduce.

“This indicates Tahoe’s waters do seem susceptible to quagga invasion,” said Sudeep Chandra, an associate professor of biology at U. Nevada, Reno, to the Reno Gazette-Journal. “(Tahoe) could support their establishment.”

To make the find, researchers replicated a quagga mussel invasion using water from Lake Tahoe in laboratory tanks. From this they saw that 80 percent of the mussels under study survived Tahoe’s low calcium levels over a test period of 90 days.

Top image: Quagga Mussels on a sediment sample. (Credit: NOAA)

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