Invasive Mussel Control Science: Management Tools for Assessing the Risks and Control of Invasive Dreissenid Species

Science Center Objects

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. rostriformis bugensis, respectively) are causing significant ecological and economic impacts and the scope of these impacts increases as they continue to spread across North America. The USGS conducts science to inform management actions for controlling and mitigating the impacts of invasive mussels. Studies include evaluation and field testing of various control technologies; and conducting research that aids in protecting and restoring native freshwater mussel species that are threatened by zebra and quagga mussels. The USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database provides detailed information on these invasive mussels and their spread.   Zebra Mussel Factsheet    Quagga Mussel Factsheet

Zequanox Application Boats

(Public domain.)

New dreissenid mussel control tools are required to mitigate the impacts that dreissenid mussels are having on ecosystems, to restore critical habitats, to effectively conduct rapid response eradication actions, and to prevent the spread of dreissenids into previously un-invaded systems. Projects include:

  • Non-enclosed Zequanox Applications for Controlling Zebra Mussels
  • Use of Electrical Fields for Zebra Mussel Control
  • Evaluation of Fish Avoidance to biopesticide (Zequanox)
  • Low-Dose Copper Treatments for Dreissenid Mussel Control
  • Determining Toxicant Dose Response Curves for Dressenid Mussels
  • Development continues of a chemical/toxicity database for invasive mussels to ascertain chemical structure-activity relationships
  • Temperature-related toxicity models were developed to determine effective concentrations and exposure durations of carbon dioxide for control and detachment of adult and juvenile zebra mussels.
  • A collaborative study was initiated to evaluate the use of carbon dioxide to prevent settlement of the early life stages of zebra mussels.
  • The molecular response of zebra mussels and native mussels to sublethal levels of carbon dioxide is being analyzed.
  • A collaborative dreissenid spawning disruption study continues that has identified six cyanobacteria species that inhibit quagga mussel spawning and fertilization.


Boegehold et al. IN REVISION.  Dreissenid (Quagga & Zebra Mussel) Veligers are Adversely Affected by Bloom Forming Cyanobacteria.  Ecotox. & Environmental Safety

Boegehold et al. 2019.  Sublethal effects of cyanobacteria on sperm of a broadcast spawning bivalve (quagga mussel). Environ. Tox. & Chem..  38(2) 368-374.

Boegehold et al. 2018. Cyanobacteria reduce quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) spawning and fertilization success. Freshwater Science. 37(3):510–518.

PhD Dissertation:  A. Boegehold- Sensitivity of Quagga Mussels (Dreissena Rostriformis Bugensis) To Cyanobacteria At Multiple Life History Stage. Wayne State University.


  • USGS efforts under this template support the objective to develop invasive species control technologies and refine management techniques identified in the GLRI Action Plan II.


  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Park Service
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Lake Minnetonka Association
  • Lake Minnetonka Conservation District
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
  • Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center
  • Tonka Bay Marina
  • Northland College
  • University of Dubuque
  • University of Wisconsin-La Crosse






The paper "Management of Invasive Species in Inland Waters" is available online (James Luoma, 

Luoma, J.A., Dean, J.C., Severson, T.J., Wise, J.K., and Barbour, M.T. Use of alternating and pulsed direct current electrified fields for zebra mussel control. Management of Biological Invasions (2017) 8(3):311-324. DOI:10.3391/mbi.2017.8.3.0