DFWI is a multidisciplinary environmental research center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute dedicated to understanding the structure and function of aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric systems. Our primary research focus is on the ecological consequences of environmental perturbations due to human activities in the Northeastern United States.
Corbicula fluminea Positively Identified in Lake George
The Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) has discovered a new invasive fresh water clam species in Lake George. This species, found by DFWI student Jeremy Farrell, was located in the Village of Lake George and poses a serious threat to native mussels and the Lake George ecosystem, according to Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, director of DFWI.
Nierzwicki-Bauer said the species Corbicula fluminea is an invasive clam from Asia, capable of self fertilization, achieving densities of thousands per square meter, and crowding native species from their typical habitats.
Commonly known as the Asian clam, it is a light brown triangular clam that can survive in fresh and brackish waters. If the invasion is a localized one, it may be possible to eradicate, she added. The dominant native mussel in Lake George is Elliptio complanata.
“It is imperative that we move quickly to determine the extent of this infestation to assess the best treatment options that can be undertaken immediately,” said Nierzwicki-Bauer, who is also a professor of biology. “We have reached out to the regulatory agencies to assess all our options.”
Rensselaer undergraduate biology student Nicole Nolan recently looked into the murky water of a fish tank here, checking on hundreds of zebra mussel larvae that she studied in the laboratories of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute.
Nolan was part of the first class of students to spend an entire “Semester of Study” at the Institute.
Her study of the infamous invasive species was part of a full semester of research and courses that included catching and measuring fish in some of the most inaccessible lakes in the Adirondacks, releasing young pheasants to the wild, and doing real work in the lab to provide researchers at the Institute with new information on how to control damaging invasives such as zebra mussels.