We investigated the in situ growth of juvenile zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in a reach of the Huron River (southeast Michigan) below a dam with a control gate that regulates water levels. Growth was significantly different among sample dates over a five-month-long monitoring season. Mean growth of mussels generally decreased from 0.093 mm/day just above the dam to 0.067 mm/day 4 km downstream, then increased to 0.091 mm/day at end of the 17-km-long study area. Significant differences among sites were most numerous in August during a severe drought when discharges fell substantially. Growth was positively correlated with discharges (R2 = 0.94, p < 0.01). The positive correlation between growth and chlorophyll a levels in the study area, however, was weak (R2 = 0.69, p < 0.1). Our study suggests that discharge may be one controlling factor for dreissenid populations in small streams.
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In situ growth of juvenile zebra mussels in a regulated stream