Skip to main content

Dr. David L. Strayer

Freshwater Ecologist | PhD, 1984, Cornell University

Hudson River, invasive species, streams

Dave Strayer is a freshwater ecologist whose current work focuses on measuring the long-term effects of zebra mussels on the Hudson River ecosystem, and understanding the roles of suspension-feeding animals in ecosystems. Strayer also works on broader issues in freshwater conservation ecology and invasion biology.

Species introductions are one of the most important ways by which humans affect the Earth’s ecosystems. Strayer has been involved in much research in this area, particularly regarding the zebra mussel. This tiny bivalve arrived in North America from Europe in the 1980s and has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage and widespread ecological change.

Water clarity, water chemistry, food webs, and populations of native species, including fish, in the Hudson River all changed after zebra mussels arrived. Now, decades after their first appearance, Strayer and Cary scientists see evidence of fundamental long-term changes in the relationship between the river and the invader. The Cary group has been tracking this changing relationship for almost 30 years, providing one of the longest and most detailed case studies in invasion ecology.

Strayer also works on the ecology and conservation of native pearly mussels, a highly diverse and imperiled group of animals. He wrote Freshwater Mussel Ecology: A Multifactor Approach to Distribution and Abundance.

Zebra mussels and pearly mussels are examples of suspension-feeders – animals that feed by removing tiny particles from the water. These animals can have large, pervasive effects on aquatic ecosystems.  Strayer is currently working to synthesize information and understanding of freshwater suspension-feeders across a wide range of species and ecosystems.

In addition to his scientific publications, Strayer has written several dozen essays for the general public, which are collected in The Lost Snail of the Yangtze and Other Essays.

Limburg, Karin E., Dennis P. Swaney, and David L. Strayer. 2024. “River Ecosystems”. In Encyclopedia Of Biodiversity, 600-619. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-822562-2.00053-0.
Lacy, A, Y Jin, David L. Strayer, and S Lenhart. (2024 FEB 21AD) 2024. “Modeling The Population Dynamics And Movement Of Zebra Mussels”. Journal Of Difference Equations And Applications. doi:10.1080/10236198.2024.2302015.
Geist, JA, JL Mancuso, MM Morin, KP Bommarito, EN Bovee, D Wendell, B Burroughs, MR Luttenton, David L. Strayer, and SD Tiegs. (APR) 2022. “The New Zealand Mud Snail (Potamopyrgus Antipodarum): Autecology And Management Of A Global Invader”. Biological Invasions 24 (4): 905-938, . doi:10.1007/s10530-021-02681-7.
Strayer, David L. 2022. “Comment: Novak Et Al. (2021) Overestimated The Successes Of Species Translocations And Minimized Their Risks”. Conservation Science And Practice 4 (7). Wiley. doi:10.1111/csp2.12694.
Strayer, David L. (04/2022AD) 2022. “Think Locally And Act Globally On Invasive Species”. Natural Areas Journal 42 (108). Natural Areas Association. doi:10.3375/0885-8608-42.2.108.
Ostfeld, Richard S., Kathleen C. Weathers, David L. Strayer, and Gene E. Likens. 2021. “Ecology Of Lyme Disease”. In Fundamentals Of Ecosystem Science, 2ndnd ed.. London, UK: Academic Press.
Strayer, David L., Stephen K. Hamilton, and Heather M. Malcom. 2021. “Long‐Term Increases In Shell Thickness In Elliptio Complanata (Bivalvia: Unionidae) In The Freshwater Tidal Hudson River”. Freshwater Biology 66 (7). Wiley: 1375-1381. doi:10.1111/fwb.13723.
2021. Fundamentals Of Ecosystem Science. Kathleen C. Weathers, Strayer, David L., and Likens, Gene E. 2nd ed.. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/c2015-0-01951-7.
Strayer, David L., David T. Fischer, Stephen K. Hamilton, Heather M. Malcom, Michael L. Pace, and Christopher T. Solomon. 2020. “Long‐Term Variability And Density Dependence In Hudson River Dreissena Populations”. Freshwater Biology 65 (3). Wiley: 474-489. doi:10.1111/fwb.13444.
Pergl, Jan, Petr Pyšek, Franz Essl, Jonathan M. Jeschke, Franck Courchamp, Juergen Geist, Martin Hejda, et al. 2020. “Need For Routine Tracking Of Biological Invasions”. Conservation Biology. Wiley. doi:10.1111/cobi.13445.
Robertson, P. A., A. Mill, A. Novoa, J. M. Jeschke, F. Essl, B. Gallardo, J. Geist, et al. (Sep) 2020. “A Proposed Unified Framework To Describe The Management Of Biological Invasions”. Biological Invasions 22 (9): 2633-2645+.
Strayer, David L. 2020. “Non‐Native Species Have Multiple Abundance–Impact Curves”. Ecology And Evolution 10 (13). Wiley: 6833-6843. doi:
Schultz, ET, Michael G. Smircich, and David L. Strayer. 2019. “Changes Over Three Decades In Feeding Success Of Young American Shad Alosa Sapidissima Are Influenced By Invading Zebra Mussels Dreissena Polymorpha”. Marine Ecology Progress Series 628. Inter-Research Science Center: 141-153. doi:10.3354/meps13114.
Strayer, David L., Rita Adrian, David C. Aldridge, Csilla Balogh, Lyubov E. Burlakova, Hannah B. FriedPetersen, Laszlo G-Toth, et al. 2019. “Long-Term Population Dynamics Of Dreissenid Mussels (Dreissena Polymorpha And D. Rostriformis): A Cross-System Analysis”. Ecosphere 10. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2701.
Ferreira-Rodriguez, N., Yoshihiro B. Akiyama, Olga V. Aksenova, Rafael Araujo, Christopher Barnhart, Yulia V. Bespalaya, Arthur E. Bogan, et al. 2019. “Research Priorities For Freshwater Mussel Conservation Assessment”. Biological Conservation 231: 77 - 87. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.01.002.
Strayer, David L., Christopher T. Solomon, Stuart E. G. Findlay, and Emma J. Rosi. 2018. “Long-Term Research Reveals Multiple Relationships Between The Abundance And Impacts Of A Non-Native Species”. Limnology And Oceanography 64 (S1): S105 - S117. doi:10.1002/lno.11029.
Strayer, David L., and Heather M. Malcom. 2018. “Long-Term Responses Of Native Bivalves (Unionidae And Sphaeriidae) To A Dreissena Invasion”. Freshwater Science 37 (4): 697 - 711. doi:10.1086/700571.
Craig, L. S., J.D. Olden, A.H. Arthington, S.A. Entrekin, Charles P. Hawkins, John J. Kelly, Theodore A. Kennedy, et al. 2018. “Meeting The Challenge Of Interacting Threats In Freshwater Ecosystems: A Call To Scientists And Managers”. Elem Sci Anth 5: 72. doi:
Strayer, David L., and Stuart E. G. Findlay. 2017. “Ecological Performance Of Hudson River Shore Zones: What We Know And What We Need To Know”. In Bilkovic, D., Mitchell, M., La Peyre, M., Toft J. Living Shorelines: The Science And Management Of Nature-Based Coastal Protection. CRC Press.
Strayer, David L., C. M. D'Antonio, Franz Essl, Mike S. Fowler, Juergen Geist, Sabine Hilt, Ivan Jaric, et al. 2017. “Boom-Bust Dynamics In Biological Invasions: Towards An Improved Application Of The Concept”. Ecology Letters 20 (10 Suppl. 3): 1337 - 1350. doi:10.1111/ele.12822.

Articles by David Strayer