The $145,979 grant will support both a graduate student and the research expenditures for the project over a two-year period.

"This grant will allow us to continue our research on the Missouri River to help define conservation actions that will preserve biodiversity in both riverine and floodplain habitats associated with the river," said Swanson, who also serves as the director of the Missouri River Institute.

The proposed project seeks to identify settlement preferences and the survival of zebra mussels in the MNRR on natural and artificial substrates occurring in the river. Kerby and Swanson's studies will include descriptions of adult concentrations and larval settlement patterns on naturally submerged substrates, such as cottonwood and other trees and bank-stabilization structures. Combined with experimental studies of larval settlement densities on submerged cottonwood and redcedar trees, concrete block and quartzite, the project will determine if preferences exist in larval settlement.

The collected data will identify the potential effects of management strategies for zebra mussels on aquatic food webs and assist with the development of optimal strategies for zebra mussel management and mitigation in the MNRR.

"This work will us to better understand the impacts, potentially both negative and positive, of invasive zebra mussels on aquatic food webs and community structure and how we can best mitigate these impacts to preserve biodiversity along the Missouri River," said Swanson.

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