Home Archived March 16, 2018

Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Use of electrified fields to control dreissenid mussels

Principal Investigators: Jim Luoma

Impact of UMESC Science

Before a new method can be used to control aquatic invasive species, it must be rigorously tested.  The results of this study will determine the feasibility of using electrified fields for controlling invasive Dreissenid mussels. 


There is an immediate need for safe and effective control measures to reduce the impact of dreissenid mussels (zebra Dreissena polymorpha and quagga mussels D. rostriformis bugensis) whose attachment and feeding behavior disrupt aquatic food webs and foul spawning habitats, behaviors that threaten native aquatic species like mussels and fish.

Dreissenid mussel management in open-water environments has largely been restricted to prevention as control measures currently available are limited and most chemical treatments are applicable only to defined discharge systems (e.g. water intakes for industrial systems). Previous work by Kolz et al. (1996) to evaluate electrified fields for dreissenid mussel control showed mortality of zebra mussels following exposure to voltage gradients of 2.5 V/cm (~ 1,875 µW/cm3) for 23 days.  Furthermore, Kolz’s apparatus (patent #5805065; control apparatus for marine animals) was designed to induce mortality using alternating current at 60 HZ applied for 24-72 hours with a power density of 3,500-50,000 µW/cm3.  

This study intends to determine the minimum voltage gradient required to induce dreissenid mussel mortality using short-term exposures to both alternating and pulse direct current at various water temperatures. 


The objectives of this study are to compare multiple electrical waveforms for inducing zebra mussel mortality, and to determine the optimal electrical waveform and minimum voltage gradient required to induce significant zebra mussel mortality.

Zequanox applied to a test enclosure in Robinson's bay of Lake Minnetonka

Figure 1: Experimental tank system used to expose zebra mussels to electrified fields



Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

URL: http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/aquatic/aquatic_invasives35.html
Page Contact Information: Contacting the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Page Last Modified: February 29, 2016