Presence of invasive mollusk in Raquette River confirmed with barcoding by Clarkson U. team
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 12:07 pm

POTSDAM – A Clarkson team has had an article published in the American Malacolgical Bulletin after using DNA barcoding to confirm an invasive mollusk in the Raquette River.

Assistant Biology Professor Andrew David, along with former students Susie Verra and Ashley Lewis, and Arianna Yhann ‘17, and freshman Biology teaching assistant Hanson Zhou were recently published in the American Malacological Bulletin.

The team used DNA barcoding to confirm the presence of an overlooked invasive mollusc, Viviparus georgianus in the Raquette River in Potsdam. According to David, the group discovered a trematode parasite infecting the molluscs that has never been recorded in the North Country before.

“It could be a new species or not but it’s definitely the first record of the species in the Adirondacks and surrounding environs,” David said.

In similar research endeavors, Clarkson University biology majors Thomas Pickett ‘18 and Kendall Gardner ’17 spent much of last spring with David, analyzing DNA sequences and investigating how Big Data can be used to understand the spread of invasive species.

Pickett was the co-author on a conference abstract David presented at the International Conference of Aquatic Invasive Species recently held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he is also the guest editor of the conference proceedings. Pickett’s research investigated global dispersal patterns of one of the world’s most invasive invertebrate, the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis

Kendall Gardner and Professor David recently published in the journal, Mitochondrial DNA Part B, where they looked at zebra mussel genomics across a 20-year span in the Great Lakes.

“Kendall’s research has found that mussels in Lake Superior have become completely genetically isolated from their cohorts in Europe, but exactly how the divergence occurred is still unknown,” David said.

Aquatic invasions are regarded as one of the greatest threats facing global biodiversity and over the past few decades, the destructiveness and cost has become increasingly apparent.

“It’s an exciting time to be doing biological invasion studies because it’s a phenomenon that is happening more frequently due to rapid globalization,” David said. “Here in northern New York, we have no idea of the extent of aquatic invasions in the Adirondack Park and surrounding environs and so it represents an area ripe for exploration. Maybe there are new invasive here or new species here that we don’t know about.”