ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology



First Advisor

Robert McMahon

Second Advisor

James P Grover


Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are highly invasive freshwater bivalve mollusks, introduced to the United Sates in the late 1980’s, and known for forming dense colonies that can encrust boat hulls and motors, damage docks and marinas, and occlude raw water lines and intake pipes. In 2009, zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Texoma, TX/OK and have since infested twenty other lakes in Texas. Never before have zebra mussels been found in waters as warm as those in Texas, leading scientists, resource managers, and regulatory agencies to question the pervasiveness and persistence of this species in warm southwestern water bodies. To that end, this dissertation describes the results of a long-term study of zebra mussel populations in three Texas reservoirs (1) assessing the mussel’s population dynamics in warm water bodies by analyzing their growth rates, reproductive periods, and juvenile settlement patterns to elucidate the bases for observed zebra mussel population collapses, (2) examining the relationship between mussel veliger larva size and juvenile settlement and identifying possible temporal correlations between the presence of settlement-competent pediveligers in plankton samples with new juvenile settlement, and (3) evaluating the variation in the dry tissue weight of zebra mussels throughout the year in order to determine the impacts of elevated temperatures on body condition as a contributing factor to acute population declines. Collectively, this research will serve to better inform natural resource managers, aquatic ecologists, and those using raw water in developing management strategies, financial investments, and infrastructure changes to mitigate the consequences of zebra mussel invasion and fouling in warm southwestern United States water bodies.


Zebra mussels, Invasive species


Biology | Life Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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