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Optimizing Zebra Mussel Control and Preventing Dispersal Through Improved Veliger Detection Using an rRNA Probe

PI: Marc Frischer, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah, GA.

Support: Georgia Sea Grant College Program (R/XG-7)

Timeframe: 9/1/97 - 8/31/99 (complete)

Project Overview:
1. To modify a currently available zebra mussel-specific 18S rRNA probe for application as a practical tool to determine the presence and abundance of veligers in water samples (primary research objective)
2. To demonstrate the practical utility of this method in improving zebra mussel control techniques - by collaborating with power plants, a paper mill, and water utilities - and preventing the dispersal of zebra mussels by fish hatcheries and baitfish suppliers (primary outreach objective)
3. To examine the utility of the 18S rRNA probe for assessing the "metabolic state/viability" of veligers.
4. To develop collaborations with impacted water users who will provide feedback and practical experience in the design and implementation of probe-based field techniques.

This project is still in the research and development stage and therefore probably has had little direct impact or effect on business, industry development, or resources management yet. However, particularly through our active participation at international meetings such as the Aquatic Nuisance Species meetings and our collaboration with industry representatives, the potential of the technology we have been developing is being absorbed by a wide diversity of potential end user groups. The feedback we have received has in large part been extremely positive and there is a general excitement about the possibility of real-time veliger monitoring using genetic probes. Two examples of this are at the Eight and Tenth Annual Aquatic Nuisance Species Meeting. At the Eight ANS meeting we were asked to provide and impromptu evening workshop describing the probe technology. At the 10th ANS meeting we were approached by Stan Ross, CEO of Marine Physics Corp, about the possibility of incorporating probe technology into a ballast water treatment system that marine Physics is developing.

Frischer, M.E., A.S. Hansen, J.A. Wyllie, J. Wimbush, J. Murray, and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. (submitted). Specific Amplification of the 18S rRNA Gene as a Method to Detect Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) Larvae in Plankton Samples. Hydrobiologia.

Frischer, M.E., S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, R.H. Parsons, K. Vathanodorn, and K.R. Waitkus. (2000). Interactions between zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and microbial communities. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 57:591-599.

Frischer, M.E., S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, M. Resto, A. Toro, and G.A. Toranzos. (1999). Zebra Mussels as Possible Biomonitors/Filters of the Protozoan Pathogen Cryptosporidium. Dressenia! 10:1-5.

Frischer, M.E., J.A. Wyllie, A.S. Hansen, and S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer. 1997. Development and utilization of genetic probes for studying zebra mussel veligers. Proceedings of the 1997 Georgia Water Resourcs Conference, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Zebra Mussels in Lake George. Coastlines: A bi-monthly Newsletter of the US EPA (2000)

Stalking the Zebra Mussel. Skidaway Scenes: A Newsletter of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Sept. 2000.

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This page was updated October 13, 2006