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Dreissena spp. Native Range and Recent Invasions - Current Knowledge, Potential Approaches and Further Actions

ASO Project No. 4-08-2008 http://www.aso.zsi.at

Co-ordinator: Institute of Zoology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Project Manager: Teodora Trichkova, MSc

Project Partners:
Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Austria; Team Leader: Univ.-Prof. Dr Leopold Füreder
Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia; Team Leader: Assist. Prof. Dr Sasho Trajanovski
"Grigore Antipa" National Museum of Natural History, Romania; Team Leader: Assist. Prof. Dr Luis Popa

Project Duration: 2008 - 2009

Funding: Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research through Austrian Science and Research Liaison Offices Ljubljana and Sofia, c/o Zentrum für Soziale Innovation within the program "Research Cooperation and Networking between Austria and South Eastern Europe"

Project Summary:
Freshwater ecosystems were subject to dramatic changes due to human impact in the last decades. As a result, in European inland waters, many indigenous species have declined or disappeared, while other species have extended considerably their species range, thus causing ecological, economic and social damages. In this respect, very good example is the genus Dreissena which includes freshwater and brackish bivalve mollusc species with Ponto-Caspian origin. Two of its representatives the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha and quagga mussel, D. bugensis, are known to be among the most aggressive aquatic invaders. Other representatives, such as D. stankovici, were considered endemic to the ancient tectonic lakes in the Balkan Peninsula. The goal of this project was to contribute to the study of species with genus Dreissena in their native and invaded ranges in Europe.

The main objectives were:
1) to compile existing data, exchange experience and knowledge about the highly invasive Dreissena species in Austria, Bulgaria and Romania, and the native species in lakes in Macedonia;
2) to collect new data on recently infested water bodies and newly established populations;
3) to harmonize different methodological approaches;
4) to plan and prepare further collaborative research activities in this area.

These objectives were achieved by the organization of 6 joint field trips. Lakes Ohrid and Prespa in Macedonia were sampled in two seasons to study the distribution and ecological characteristics of D. stankovici. D. polymorpha infestations were studied in 12 Alpine lakes in three Austrian provinces: Tyrol, Salzburg and Upper Austria. During two field trips, 7 lakes and 7 reservoirs were sampled to study Dreissena invasions into the Bulgarian inland water bodies. One field trip was organized in the Lower Danube to study the distribution and characteristics of recently established D. bugensis populations. During the field trips, 9 meetings were held. A workshop was organized on 9-12 October 2008 in Sofia Bulgaria to review the project ongoing activities and research results. Other activities included preparation and submission of a collaborative research project proposal which was afterwards approved for funding by the Bulgarian Science Fund. The research results were presented at two scientific conferences in Bulgaria and Italy and summarized in four publications.

It is expected that these activities and results achieved will be the first steps in the initiation of a scientific networking in the area of invasive biology and ecology of Dreissena spp., as well as in the development of national, regional and European policy strategies concerning the alien and native invasive species, as well as the preservation of biodiversity and protection of natural ecosystems from invasions.



Working meeting

Ohrid Lake

Danube River, Drobeta-Turnu Severin
















This website is developed with support from the Bulgarian Science Fund, Ministry of Education, Youth and Science,
within the Project "Assessment and Management of Dreissena spp. Invasions in the Bulgarian Water Bodies",
Contract Number: DO-02-283/2008.

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