The main research goal of AQUAINVAD-ED is to exploit novel molecular advances combined with the power of crowd data sourcing (citizen science) to develop innovative methods of early detection, control and management of AIS.

As part of her research ESR Teja has been working with Cardiff Harbour Authority, here she tells us a little more about the work she has been undertaking.

In 2004 Cardiff Harbour Authority (CHA) discovered a newly introduced invasive species of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the bay which could have been introduced by visiting vessels. This was the first confirmed sighting of zebra mussels in Wales. Killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) arrived later in Great Britain compared to other European freshwater locations but had been confirmed in Cardiff Bay in November 2010.

Currently both species are present but the extent of their dispersal and threat remains unknown, therefore, we have designed an experiment which will be able to measure their biofouling success rates as well as provide rough estimations of their abundance in Cardiff Bay through environmental DNA (eDNA) barcoding technique.

Water samples have been collected from 5 different stations where continuous water quality monitoring buoys are established. The sampling points were chosen by the highest possible density variation of species D. villosus and D. polymorpha as well as covering the widest possible environmental conditions within the bay including the outlets of both rivers.

Biofouling success

As a corresponding measure to the environmental DNA barcoding quantification techniques, we have also designed an experiment to measure the biofouling success rate through density and biomass growth of both species. For that reason, we have designed two types of experimental cages and plates, where we will be able to successfully measure the growth rate over a 6 month, warmer period, in the bay.

July 12th, 2017

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