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Earth Surf Processes Landf - 2022 - Sanders - Stabilization of fluvial bed sediments by invasive quagga mussels Dreissena.pdf (32.85 MB)

Stabilization of fluvial bed sediments by invasive quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis)

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-17, 15:37 authored by Harry Sanders, Richard J Mason, Daniel N Mills, Stephen Rice

River gravel mobility is an important control on river behaviour, morphology, and ecosystem processes. Gravel stability is dependent on abiotic flow and sediment properties, alongside less widely acknowledged biotic processes. The quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis), a highly invasive bivalve, frequently occurs at high population densities in rivers and lakes. Quagga mussels attach to benthic sediments using byssal threads, which might affect sediment stability and thereby broader river geomorphology. We aimed to (1) characterize controls of quagga mussel sediment attachment by conducting a field survey in an invaded river, (2) investigate resultant changes in the critical shear stress needed to entrain fluvial bed materials via an ex situ flume experiment, for measured average (135 m−2) and potential future (270 m−2) mussel densities, and (3) model how this may affect sediment transport rates. From field surveys, mean quagga mussel density was 122 m−2, attaching to an average of 591 g m−2 of mineral bed sediments. Across the survey reach, mussels attached to all grain sizes available, with attachment driven by grain availability, rather than active selection of particular grain sizes. In the ex situ flume experiment, densities of 135 mussels m−2 did not significantly increase the critical shear stress of fluvial bed materials, but a density of 270 mussels m−2 significantly increased critical shear stress by 40%. Estimates of the proportion of time these critical stresses are exceeded at the field site indicated high densities of quagga mussels may reduce the occurrence of a geomorphically active flood event from Q30 to Q2. These results present feasible invasion scenarios, as quagga mussels frequently reach benthic densities orders of magnitude greater than observed here. This study indicates that substantial alterations to bedload sediment transport may occur following quagga mussel invasion. Future geomorphic modelling should include biology to better understand rates and processes of landscape development.

Funding

British Society for Geomorphology Full Member Research Project Grant

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Volume

47

Issue

14

Pages

3259 - 3275

Publisher

Wiley

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Wiley under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

2022-07-18

Publication date

2022-08-07

Copyright date

2022

ISSN

0197-9337

eISSN

1096-9837

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Stephen Rice. Deposit date: 17 November 2022

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