Cold as ice: a novel eradication and control method for invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, using pelleted dry ice.
Eradication and control measures for invasive aquatic organisms require innovative methods that maximise efficacy whilst minimising environmental damage. Such methods should also ideally utilise readily available materials and have a relatively straightforward field application. The Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774) is a high impact freshwater invader that can dominate macroinvertebrate communities and physically alter benthic habitats. Moreover, C. fluminea has shown a high degree of physiological and ecological plasticity, and has displayed a remarkable capacity for human-mediated passive dispersal. Globally, despite repeated efforts to mitigate spread and implement substantial population control measures, C. fluminea continues to invade and spread. Accordingly, effective population eradication and control measures are urgently required. Here, we examine the efficacy of commercially available dry ice (DI) pellets (i.e. solid CO2 pellets at -78°C) to kill C. fluminea, when applied both directly (water absent) and indirectly (clams submerged). Experiment 1 revealed the ability of 9 mm DI pellets to induce substantial C. fluminea mortality, with a direct application of 300 g DI at 5 min exposure inducing 100% clam mortality. In experiments 2 and 3, DI pellets of 9 mm induced higher clam mortality than 3 mm pellets, DI slices and mixed DI pellet sizes (3 and 9 mm) at simulated clam densities of 1179 and 3930 individuals m-2, especially when clams were submerged. Experiments 4 and 5 showed that DI application was highly effective even with clams that were covered in gravel or mud, due to the freezing of their surrounding substrate. Accordingly, these results demonstrate that DI can potentially be used for effective, rapid response control and eradication of C. fluminea populations. Whilst promising, our laboratory results require scaling up to field application and examination of the effects of water current, substrate, increased water depth, and greater C. fluminea population densities.