Home / Science / Why scientists are fighting to keep golden mussels out of Amazon waters

Why scientists are fighting to keep golden mussels out of Amazon waters

Scientists dubbed a golden mussel an “ecosystem engineer,” not for a ability to build new ecosystems, though a potency in changing them. And not indispensably for anyone else’s benefit.

Now a golden mussel has been detected in 5 South American countries, including Brazil, and biologists are endangered a class could do repairs to a Amazon River. But one immature scientist is perplexing to find a resolution before that can happen.

The golden mussel, local to China, widespread to Taiwan and Japan in a second half of a 20th century. The bivalve done a initial appearances in South America in a 1990s, after ships roving to a continent incidentally carried a mussels on their ballasts. From a La Plata River in Argentina, a class changed northward and entered a Uruguay, Paraguay, and Tiete rivers.

Biologist Marcela Uliano da Silva, a PhD claimant during a Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, has been studying a mussel class for some-more than 4 years. Uliano da Silva has seen a effects of a invasive mollusk firsthand.

“One of a characteristics is that it reproduces a lot, formulating outrageous populations,” Uliano da Silva told a Monitor.

And since a class is a filter tributary – it strains food particles and other matter from a H2O – some-more mussels means a some-more pure a H2O becomes. From there, object can strech reduce inlet and change aspects of a ecosystem, like phytoplankton levels. At first, a impact of a mussel’s participation might not seem so bad.

“In some rivers, there is justification display that a fish race has increasing 20% since they have a new food apparatus in a mussels. But when we boost a series of fish, it has a domino effect,” wrote Uliano da Silva. “Ultimately, when a mussel invades, it transforms a ecosystem, dwindling biodiversity and homogenizing a environment.”

Uliano da Silva is trying to method a golden mussel’s genome in an bid to come adult with a approach to control a species. The researchers have found that a mussel can exist in a accumulation of habitats opposite South America, distinct in a local region, where a class can tarry usually in a slight operation of heat and acidity. So Uliando da Silva and her colleagues introduce that a mussel’s “robust” genetic makeup allows it to demonstrate a far-reaching operation of traits to assistance it flower in South American waters.

One probable plan once Uliano da Silva’s group has pinned down a genome involves injecting a mussels with molecules that overpower aim presence genes. When a mussels are expelled into waters, they are incompetent to multiply successfully and race numbers are kept in check. Scientists study a Aedes aegypti butterfly have offering a identical technique to control dengue fever, that is believed to be transmitted by a mosquitoes, in Asia and Latin America.

While Uliando da Silva works on a approach to keep a mussel during bay, a conditions provides a ideal instance of how some class are kept in change in certain ecosystems, though can turn a vital hazard in others.

“In China a golden mussel has predators and competitors, that keeps it underneath control,” wrote Uliando da Silva. “South America has proven to be a ideal unfolding for a golden mussel to spread: reduction competitors and copiousness of food.”

Article source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0205/Why-scientists-are-fighting-to-keep-golden-mussels-out-of-Amazon-waters

Scroll To Top