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Aquatic Invasions


Mortality of zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, larvae was quantified in a laboratory experiment that was designed to assess the role played by both intensity and duration of the exposure to hydrodynamic forces. Larvae were collected in a plankton net and distributed in 100-ml aliquots to 125-ml Erlenmeyer flasks. The flasks were spun on an orbital shaker at different speeds, 100 rpm and 400 rpm, to change the intensity of the hydrodynamic forces experienced by larvae inside the flasks. Actual shear forces were not quantified. A parallel set of control flasks were not spun. Flasks were spun for 1, 24 and 48 hours. Mortality was highest in the 400 rpm, 48-h trial. Both intensity and duration were highly significant variables in the ANOVA model (p<0.001). However, the interaction term was also highly significant (p<0.001). Larval mortality was significantly higher in the treatments than in the non-spun flasks in only the 400 rpm, 24-h and 400 rpm, 48-h trials. Thus, longer duration of exposure to high intensity hydrodynamic forces increases larval mortality. These results help explain natural recruitment patterns of zebra mussels in natural streams and may be of interest to management and conservation efforts.


Published in Aquatic Invasions by Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre (REABIC). Available via

At the time of publication, the authors were affiliated with the State University New York College at Oneonta.