New research highlights an integrated approach for managing aquatic invasive species in California

UC Santa Barbara –

Though small and somewhat nondescript, quagga and zebra mussels pose a huge threat to local rivers, lakes and estuaries. Thanks to aggressive measures to prevent contamination, Santa Barbara County’s waters have so far been clear of the invasive mollusks, but stewards of local waterways, reservoirs and water recreation areas remain vigilant to the possibility of infestation by these and other non-native organisms.

Now, UC Santa Barbara-based research scientist Carolynn Culver and colleagues at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute are adding to this arsenal of prevention measures with a pair of studies that appear in a special edition of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. They focus on taking an integrated approach to the management of aquatic invasive species as the state works to move beyond its current toxic, water quality-reducing methods.

“With integrated pest management you’re looking for multiple ways to manipulate vulnerabilities of a pest, targeting different life stages with different methods in a combined way that can reduce the pest population with minimal harm to people and the environment,” said Culver, an extension specialist with California Sea Grant who also holds an academic appointment at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “Often there is concentrated effort on controlling one part of the life cycle, like removing adults—which are easier to see—without thinking about the larvae that are out there.”

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