Monday, October 13, 2014

Intrusion of Quagga Mussel species can dismantle Britain’s Economy and Ecology

An alien species of mussels has been discovered in a reservoir in London that can pose severe threat to Britain’s economy and ecology. These species are anticipated to wreak catastrophe in UK, by escalating the water bills by a large amount and disturbing the native biological diversity. On October 1, the Quagga Mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) capable of covering boat hulls and smothers native species to death were first observed in Britain. It has been spreading westward from the Ponto-Caspian region in South-east Europe in recent years.
Quagga mussels are the species that originates from an area around black and Caspian seas. Feeding on various kinds of algae, they are hard to be distinguished from zebra mussels which are already native to various parts of US.

According to a study report by Cambridge University, the mussels can block water pipes, leading to floods in the region. Also, the presence of the species can deter the quality of water. Water bills will soar again attributed to presence of these alien mussels.

Wraysbury reservoir, (the one where it has been found), is a hub of sailing, fishing and scuba diving. Also, the lake is a protected zone of aquatic and non-aquatic wildlife. However, invasion of the area by this five centimeter long foreign species can disturb ‘ecological balance’ of the area. These mussels form colonies rapidly and get adhered to rocks and hard surfaces, intervening the food webs already established.

“These tiny mussels can be devastating but look so innocuous, which is why it is difficult for boaters, anglers and other water users to avoid accidently transferring them between the water bodies when they latch on to their equipment”, said Jeff Knott, head of conserving policy at the Wildlife and Wet life Trust (WTT). Thus, he urges every water users to sterilize their equipments before and after each use. Equipments must be properly washed and cleaned to prevent much contact of the species.

Eradication of this particular group is just next to impossible, but prevention followed by cautious steps can prevent foray of further foreign species. The report was published in Journal of Applied Ecology.

Source: Here

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