Filtration of Hudson River water by the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
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Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) graze on phytoplankton, and decreased phytoplankton concentrations have been associated with zebra mussels in lakes. It is not known, however, how the zebra mussel will affect phytoplankton in turbid systems such as rivers and the freshwater portions of estuaries. To determine whether zebra mussels can effectively remove phytoplankton in these turbid systems, and to determine what components of the suspended material are removed and at what rates, we conducted a series of grazing and size-selection experiments using ambient Hudson River water and its natural phytoplankton community. Zebra mussels removed both phytoplankton and total suspended weight (TSW) at comparable rates (∼115 ml mussel−1 h−1). Variation in filtration rates were not correlated with TSW or chlorophylla (chla) concentration, and did not appear to depend on relative proportions of either component. Mussels removed particles with approximately equal efficiency in all particle size classes measured (0.4 μm to >40 μm). Zebra mussels appear to remove Hudson River phytoplankton effectively in the presence of suspended sediment and do so at rapid rates. Based on our measurements and unpublished estimates of the size of the population, zebra mussels filter a volume equivalent to the entire volume of the tidal freshwater portion of the Hudson River about every 2 d.
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- Filtration of Hudson River water by the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
Volume 19, Issue 4 , pp 824-832
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- 1. Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 11794-5000, Stony Brook, New York
- 2. Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Box AB (Route 44A), 12545-0129, Millbrook, New York