Zebra mussels are one of the most pernicious invasive species in the United States having infested the Great Lakes in the 1980s and then having spread to 29 states by hitching rides on boats on inland waterways.
As a child, I remember looking with some fascination at barnacles on the piers in a Cape Cod harbor, and reading about how their growth on the bottoms of boats so slowed their progress in the water that dry-docking for barnacle removal was a common practice
In the Housatonic River, zebra mussels -- non-native bivalves that can move into a water body and just dominate it -- were found in 2009 in Massachusetts and in 2010 in Connecticut at Lake Lillinonah and Lake Zoar.
A short documentary by the American Museum of Natural History. The video highlights zebra mussels in the Hudson River and the Cary research that closely analyzed the river before, during and after the invasion.
Humans have carelessly moved thousands of species outside their native ranges through activities such as transfer of ballast water, release of pets and bait, movement of untreated wood, escapes from agriculture and aquaculture, and deliberate release of species that we thought to be beneficial.
One of the best-known bits of folk wisdom about invasive species is that they settle down after a while to become part of a rebalanced ecosystem, and stop being a problem. This is an appealing idea, but how often is it true?
This past winter, the National Science Foundation renewed funding for the Institute’s long-term research on how the Hudson River is responding to zebra mussels. Introduced in 1991, the invasive bivalves are now the most abundant animals in the river. Institute scientists have generated the longest published record of this invasive species.
If you’ve walked much along the Hudson’s shores, you’ve probably seen thorny, black water-chestnut seedpods piled up along the high-tide line, thick stands of common reed in wetlands and along the railroad tracks, mute swans gliding across the water, carp splashing in the shallows, chunky shells of Atlantic rangia on the beaches of Haverstraw Bay, and the thin, sharp shells of zebra mussels littering shorelines from Newburgh north.