Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Boat ramps facilitate the dispersal of the highly invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).

Abstract

Invasive bivalves can cause widespread ecological damage, but eradication has proved difficult. Identifying the pathways of dispersal is crucial to implementing more effective biocontainment measures. We examined the distribution of the highly invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in Great Britain through Species Distribution Modelling to determine the drivers of distribution and generated suitability maps to predict future dispersal. Distance to boat ramps was the most important predictor of zebra mussel establishment, accounting for 27% of variation in occurrence. Probability of occurrence was highest within 3 km upstream of boat ramps, probably due to boating activity and the impounded waters typically associated with boat ramps. Our results highlight the need for implementing stringent control measures around boat ramps, and demonstrate the value of spatially modelling species distribution to create risk maps for targeting monitoring efforts at those locations most vulnerable to invasion.