Field evaluation of toxicity of low-dose molluscicide treatments for zebra mussel veligers

Project manager: Mike McCartney

Project description:

This project will evaluate the potential to control zebra mussel populations by targeting their larvae (veligers) and by focusing on suppression, rather than eradication. Researchers will test EarthTec QZ® (a copper sulfate formulation) on veligers in Lake Minnetonka to determine lethal concentrations and time to lethality.

Previous lab studies have shown that molluscicides are more toxic to veligers than adults, so a smaller dose could be required to be effective. It would also be more affordable for a larger area – perhaps even an entire small lake – to be treated and could minimize non-target impacts.  

Because zebra mussel adults live only three to five years, they rely on veliger production to maintain their populations. Reducing veliger survival could ultimately reduce the overall population of adult zebra mussels and may be an approach to management, particularly of newly infested lakes, while also minimizing ecological and economic harm caused by these invaders.

By evaluating the dose, exposure time, and costs required to result in veliger mortality, this research will have real-world implications for AIS prevention and management. Currently, no options exist to eradicate zebra mussels and this research into reducing populations specifically by targeting veligers is novel.

This project will be conducted in partnership with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and is funded by Hennepin County and private donations.

Project start date: 2016

Estimated project end date: 2017

Updates and progress: