Temperature- and turbidity-dependent competitive interactions between invasive freshwater mussels.
We develop a staged-structured population model that describes the competitive dynamics of two functionally similar, congeneric invasive species: zebra mussels and quagga mussels. The model assumes that the population survival rates are functions of temperature and turbidity, and that the two species compete for food. The stability analysis of the model yields conditions on net reproductive rates and intrinsic growth rates that lead to competitive exclusion. The model predicts quagga mussel dominance leading to potential exclusion of zebra mussels at mean water temperatures below 20°C and over a broad range of turbidities, and a much narrower set of conditions that favor zebra mussel dominance and potential exclusion of quagga mussels at temperatures above 20°C and turbidities below 35 NTU. We then construct a two-patch dispersal model to examine how the dispersal rates and the environmental factors affect competitive exclusion and coexistence.