Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invasive mussel not harmed by toxins, invades freshwaters of Europe, North America

Date:
October 3, 2013
Source:
University of Southern Denmark
Summary:
While most freshwater mussels react stressfully and weaken when exposed to the toxins in blue-green algae in their water environment, the little zebra mussel is rather indifferent. It is not affected by the toxins, and this helps it outmatch stressed and weakened mussels, report researchers. This is bad for the biodiversity, and in some countries the superior zebra mussels imposes great costs to the industry.

Zebra mussels attaching themselves to an unio mussel, thus making it unable to breathe and eat.
Credit: Vanessa Burmester

While most freshwater mussels react stressfully and weaken when exposed to the toxins in blue-green algae in their water environment, the little zebra mussel is rather indifferent. It is not affected by the toxins, and this helps it outmatch stressed and weakened mussels, report researchers from the University of Southern Denmark. This is bad for the biodiversity, and in some countries the superior zebra mussels imposes great costs to the industry.

At first glance it looks like good news: Researchers have discovered that the freshwater zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is not damaged from exposure to toxins from blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and other toxic substances that could constitute a problem for freshwater mussels. On the contrary, they seem completely unaffected and thus they manage significantly better in a water environment than other freshwater mussels -- and this is what worries the scientists: Many places in Europe the zebra mussels have already outmatched other mussel species and in the U.S. they are so widespread that they pose a threat.

"Zebra mussels live in large colonies in the Great Lakes in the United States, and they are a huge problem. They need something hard to attach themselves to and often they find a suitable surface on the inside of the pipes carrying water from the Great Lakes into factories and other industries along the lake. Often they sit so close that they block the water intake," explains associate professor Claudia Wiegand, who studies environmental stress physiology and aquatic toxicology at the Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark.

Efforts to prevent the zebra mussels from attaching themselves to the pipes and remove those attached have already cost several million dollars.

"In European lakes we see that many zebra mussels attach themselves to other mussel species and suffocate them, so they cannot breathe or eat, and therefore die," says Claudia Wiegand.

Together with colleagues from the University of Rennes in France she has also looked at another freshwater mussel, Unio's ability to fight toxins.

"Unio is less able to combat toxins from blue-green algae. This may help explain why they are declining in some places in Europe," says Claudia Wigand.

She and her colleagues tested how the unio react when exposed to blue-green algae in concentrations that freshwater mussels are realistically exposed to in the wild.

"We saw that the unio's ability to combat the toxin was inhibited. The enzymes that normally help the mussel secrete substances were blocked and thus the mussels could not get the poison out of their body. It became stressed and this may reduce its viability in the long run. Conversely we have seen that the zebra mussels intensify their detoxification mechanisms and secret the toxin without being stressed or affected negatively," explains Claudia Wiegand.

The researchers also tested unio's ability to combat the pesticide Round Up and saw the same pattern: It became stressed and weakened. They now plan to test how zebra mussels react on Round Up.

Zebra mussels origin from Eastern Europe and the Caspian Sea. Over the past 200 years it has spread to the rest of Europe and North America.

Unio is a family of common freshwater mussels. They live buried in the lake bottom and are easy to overlook since only a small piece of them stick up. They are native to Europe, where biologists over the last years have noticed their decline.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern Denmark. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M้lodie Mal้cot, Blandine Gu้vel, Charles Pineau, Bente Frost Holbech, Myriam Bormans, Claudia Wiegand. Specific proteomic response ofUnio pictorummussel to a mixture of glyphosate and microcystin-LR. Journal of Proteome Research, 2013; 130823053642004 DOI: 10.1021/pr4006316

Cite This Page:

University of Southern Denmark. "Invasive mussel not harmed by toxins, invades freshwaters of Europe, North America." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003111155.htm>.
University of Southern Denmark. (2013, October 3). Invasive mussel not harmed by toxins, invades freshwaters of Europe, North America. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003111155.htm
University of Southern Denmark. "Invasive mussel not harmed by toxins, invades freshwaters of Europe, North America." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003111155.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins