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Quagga mussel spawning and fertilization success in laboratory bioassays under exposure to cyanobacteria, 2014-2016


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Boegehold, A.G., Johnson, N.S., Ram, J.L., and Kashian, D.R., 2018, Quagga mussel spawning and fertilization success in laboratory bioassays under exposure to cyanobacteria, 2014-2016: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


Laboratory bioassays were conducted between 2014-2016 at Wayne State University in cooperation with USGS to determine if different species of cyanobacteria influence quagga mussel spawning and fertilization success. The data describes the algal cultures tested and their density/concentration, the number of individuals tested, and the spawning and fertilization success of quagga mussels exposed to the cyanobacteria and those that were not (control).


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Boegehold et al. 2017 data release_Fertilization assays.csv 12.68 KB
Boegehold et al. 2017 data release_Spawning assays.csv 2.63 KB
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1. Quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) are highly fecund broadcast spawners invasive to freshwaters of North America and Western Europe. We hypothesized that quagga mussels rely on environmental cues from phytoplankton to trigger gamete release, like some mussels in marine environments. While edible algae may stimulate dreissenid spawning, less palatable food, such as bloom forming cyanobacteria, could be a hindrance. The objective of this study was to determine if environmentaly relevant concentrations of cyanobacteria exposure can inhibit quagga mussel spawning and fertilization. 2. Adult quagga mussels placed in individual vials were exposed to thirteen cyanobacteria cultures, using artificial lake water as the control. Spawning was assessed in the presence of serotonin, a known spawning inducer. Fertilization success was evaluated by combining eggs with sperm in conjunction with cyanobacteria, and enumerating zygote formation marked by cellular cleavage. 3. Several cyanobacteria strains reduced spawning and fertilization success in quagga mussels. Fertilization was more sensitive to cyanobacteria than gamete release. Only one culture, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, inhibited spawning while seven cultures consisting of Anabaena flos-aquae, Dolichospermum lemermanii, Gloeotrichula echinulata, Lyngbya wollei, two Microcystis aeruginosa isolates, and M. wesenbergii reduced fertilization rates by up to 44%. 4. The impacts of cyanobacteria on reproduction in invasive freshwater mussels in the wild has not yet been determined; however, our laboratory studies show environmentally relevant concentrations of cyanobacteria likely limit reproduction. Reproductive consequences on wild populations may become more prevalent in the future as cyanobacteria blooms are occurring earlier in the spring, making overlap between blooms and quagga mussel spawning more common. Further, describing the mechanism by which cyanobacteria inhibit spawning and fertilization could reveal novel control methods to limit reproduction of this destructive invasive species.


  • Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC)



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DOI doi:10.5066/F7MG7NFC

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