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Assessment and Management of Dreissena spp. Invasions
in the Bulgarian Water Bodies


Project DO 02-283/2008

Project Duration: 2009–2012

Funding: Bulgarian Science Fund, Ministry of Education, Youth and Science

Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Project Manager: Assoc. Prof., Dr Ivan Pandourski

Project Partners: Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", NGO Ecoforum for Nature, Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Austria, Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid, FYR Macedonia, "Grigore Antipa" National Museum of Natural History, Romania, US Army Corps of Engineers, USA

Project Summary:
The freshwater bivalve mollusc species zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha and quagga mussel Dreissena bugensis are among the most aggressive aquatic invaders which have great potential to cause ecological and economic damages. In Bulgaria, zebra mussel originates from the Danube River and some Black Sea lakes and river estuaries, but in latest years, the species has spread rapidly into the Bulgarian inland water bodies. The reservoirs in many regions have been reported as infested and some of them have strong impact on the hydroelectric facilities connected with them. Recently, the quagga mussel was recorded in the Bulgarian stretch of the Danube River. The main goal of the present project is to assess the current state of Dreissena spp. invasions in Bulgaria and to develop management tools for vulnerable and already infested water basins. To achieve this goal, the following objectives will be implemented: 1) to study the present distribution of zebra and quagga mussels in Bulgaria and to develop GIS database of Dreissena invasions; 2) to characterize the invasive Dreissena populations in infested water bodies; 3) to study the impact of Dreissena invasions on aquatic ecosystems and water engineering facilities; 4) to develop measures to limit the risk of Dreissena introductions; and 5) to develop measures for control in infested water basins.

The project activities will be organized into 6 Work Packages (WP):
WP 1: Distribution and characteristics of invasive Dreissena populations
WP 2: Development of GIS database and spatial analyses of Dreissena invasions
WP 3: Changes in aquatic ecosystems as a result of Dreissena infestations
WP 4: Development of risk management guidelines
WP 5: Assessment of Dreissena invasion impact on water engineering facilities and development of management guidelines for control in already infested water basins
WP 6: Dissemination of results.

We expect the results of the project to be of importance and to have potential application in science, industry and environmental policy concerning the invasive alien species. The development of a risk management plan linked to the evaluation of potential biological and economic consequences of Dreissena invasions, and action plan for infested water body will provide managers and decision makers with necessary guidelines which will help them to limit the risk of Dreissena infestations on the one hand, and to reduce the damages on aquatic ecosystems and industry, on the other.

Project website: http://www.dreissena.info