Jordan Ouellette-Plante

McGill University
M.Sc. candidate

Supervisor: Anthony Ricciardi
Dr. Ladd Johnson, Université Laval
Start: 2011-09-01
End: 2014-05-01
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Filtration rates of zebra and quagga mussels under different turbidity regimes
My masters research focuses on two invasive bivalves: the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the quagga mussel (D. bugensis). In comparison with the Great Lakes, which was invaded by these two species in the 1980s, their ecology in large rivers received relatively little attention - particularly how inorganic suspended sediment loads affects their growth and filtration. The St. Lawrence River (SLR) is one of the few rivers in North America that contains both dreissenid species. Such a large system provides opportunities to study spatial and temporal variations along the river bed, which in turn will provide information on the shifting mosaic of abiotic and biotic conditions that form local habitats. This environmental heterogeneity provides a platform for comparing dreissenid tolerance to suspended sediments regimes. Comparing the filtration apparatus (gills and labial palps) of these mussels may provide valuable insight into why quaggas are becoming dominant in areas previously dominated by zebra mussels. My research thus aims to compare the growth rates of these two invasive bivalves in different turbidity environments within the SLR, and to relate these differences to temporal and spatial variation in their soft tissue morphology


Dreissena polymorpha, Dreissena bugensis, palp/gill area, turbidity, suspended particles, growth and body mass, invasive species