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Since the discovery of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in the Great Lakes in 1988 comparisons have been made with mussel populations in Europe and the former Soviet Union. These comparisons include: Population dynamics, growth and mortality rates, ecological tolerances and requirements, dispersal rates and patterns, and ecological impacts. North American studies, mostly on the zebra mussel and a few on a second introduced species, the quagga mussel, Dreissena bugensis, have revealed some similarities and some differences. To date it appears that North American populations of zebra mussels are similar to European populations in their basic biological characteristics, population growth and mortality rates, and dispersal mechanisms and rates. Relative to European populations differences have been demonstrated for: (1) individual growth rates; (2) life spans; (3) calcium and pH tolerances and requirements; (4) potential distribution limits; and (5) population densities of veligers and adults. In addition, studies on the occurrence of the two dreissenid species in the Great Lakes are showing differences in their modes of life, depth distributions, and growth rates. As both species spread throughout North America, comparisons between species and waterbodies will enhance our ability to more effectively control these troublesome species.
Additional Publication Details
Comparative biology of zebra mussels in Europe and North America: an overview