The effects of nutrient enrichment and invasive mollusks on freshwater environments

Matthew S. Schuler, William D. Hintz, Devin K. Jones, Brian M. Mattes, Aaron B. Stoler, Rick A. Relyea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The effects of an invasive species on the environment can be altered by anthropogenic activities such as nutrient pollution or the presence of additional invasive species with similar or unique traits. Using experimental mesocosms, we tested the separate and combined effects of three invasive mollusks (zebra mussels, Asian clams, and banded mystery snails) on freshwater environments in nutrient-poor and nutrient-enriched conditions. We predicted that in nutrient-poor conditions, single mollusk species would reduce the abundance of algae and zooplankton, but nutrient enrichment would mitigate these effects. Regardless of nutrient additions, paired bivalve species would reduce phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance, increasing periphyton biomass. Bivalves and snails paired together would reduce periphyton, phytoplankton, and zooplankton compared to communities with paired bivalve species. Finally, nutrient enrichment would increase the survival or biomass of paired bivalves and snails. Single, paired, and three co-occurring invasive mollusks did not affect algae or zooplankton abundance. Banded mystery snails reduced nutrient concentrations in high-nutrient conditions more than other invasive species, but the reduced nutrients did not affect algal abundance. Paired invasive species did not affect the survival or biomass of other invasive species. Nutrient enrichment increased the biomass of zebra mussels and mystery snails, but not Asian clams. Additionally, zebra mussel reproduction increased in the high-nutrient treatment when banded mystery snails were present, but not when all three species were together. We conclude that human-induced trophic states might determine the effects that single and multiple invasive species have in freshwater environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03196
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • non-indigenous species
  • non-native species
  • nutrient pollution
  • phytoplankton
  • total nitrogen
  • total phosphorus


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