Friday, June 12, 2009

Zebra Mussels Hang On While Quagga Mussels Take Over


For more information contact:
Suzanne Peyer, Doctoral Candidate,, (608) 262-9225
Dr. Carol Eunmi Lee, Professor, UW-Madison Center of Rapid Evolution,, (608) 262-2675

Editors Note: High-definition video of quagga mussels feeding can be found at The video is called “Quagga Mussels Feeding.”

MADISON (6/12/2009) --The zebra mussels that have wreaked ecological havoc on the Great Lakes are harder to find these days – not because they are dying off, but because they are being replaced by a cousin, the quagga mussel. But zebra mussels still dominate in fast-moving streams and rivers.

Research conducted by Suzanne Peyer, a doctoral candidate in the UW-Madison Department of Zoology, shows that physiological differences between the two species might determine which mollusk dominates in either calm or fast-moving waters.

“Zebra mussels quite rapidly colonized rivers close to the Great Lakes right after their introduction, within a year or two,” Peyer explained. “Quagga mussels were introduced in the Great Lakes around 20 years ago, but they are still not found in the rivers or tend to be present in low numbers.”

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