• The Impact of Aquatic Invasive Mussels and Artificial Circulation Devices in Otsego Lake, NY

      Yokota, Kiyoko; Lord, Paul; Smith, Rylie; Kari Minissale; Stickney, Sierra (2022)
      Local watersheds have been infiltrated by aquatic invasive species (AIS), which are non-native organisms that may cause economic, public health, and recreational problems for community members. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussels (D. rostiformis bugensis) are AIS that have been found and reported in Otsego Lake within the last 15 years. Zebra and quagga mussels can have severe impacts on the overall ecology of the lake, therefore it is important to monitor their populations to determine what efforts need to be taken to mitigate their impacts. It is particularly critical to survey quagga mussels at this time, which are a recent invasion and have behaviors (deeper colonization and tolerance to cooler temperatures) that may allow them to have more severe effects on the dynamics within the lake. Additionally, Otsego Lake is subject to increasing use of shoreline de-icing devices, including agitators and bubblers, to protect docks and other structures. Our pilot study showed that an agitating de-icer pushed cold water deeper during cold snaps than in nearby ice-covered locations, which raised the concern for the overwintering benthic community structure. Existing literature suggests that the temperature and substrate preferences of quagga mussels may allow them to outcompete and displace zebra mussels over time. By surveying the population of both mussels, an analysis of the niche overlap between the two mussels can be conducted and predictions on their ecological relationship can be made. This project continues the work of Yokota Lab to survey the population, size, and age of these AIS in Otsego Lake, analyze the ecological dynamics between the two, and evaluate the impact that "de-icing" systems have on the lake’s benthic community. This presentation will represent the current methods used, the results collected, and the initial predictions made in regard to this project.