According to a study by a team from Washington State University, Vancouver, invasive Asian clams have appeared in large numbers in the Columbia River.
VANCOUVER, Wash. — An invasive clam species that has gained a foothold mainly in the Columbia River. That is the finding of a study conducted by a group of words Washington State University, Vancouveronly published in the International Review of Hydrobiology.
Asian clams, or corbicula fluminea, have been present in the Columbia River since the 1930s, possibly being loaded onto ship hulls or imported as a food item from Asia. According to Salvador Robb-Chavez, although clams are not new to the river, they can be a warning sign for other invasive species that are likely to emerge.
Robb-Chavez graduated with a master’s degree in environmental science from WSU Vancouver and was the study’s lead author. He said that there are now many species of this Asian clam in the river, from Astoria to the Tri-Cities.
“They’ve been around for quite a while, but most people don’t know that they pass them every day on I-84,” said Robb-Chavez. , Later Columbia River, but have been found across the entire breadth of my research area.”
According to Robb-Chavez, his team found Asian clams at 430 per square meter in some of the most concentrated samples along the Columbia River.
Invasive mussels are known to damage native mussels, the primary food culture resource — they compete for space, compete for food, and ultimately degrade status and abundance. of mussels.
Asian clams eat the same plankton that native muscles eat — and further down the food chain, so do salmon. And while Asian clams are bad enough, they’re not the only invasive species in the river. They are just one of a long list of invasive species that have been introduced into the system by human activities.
Robb-Chavez says this study of Asian clams in the Columbia River should serve as a warning about keeping other invasive species out of the river – because Asian clams are just as bad, the quagga mussels. and zebras are worse, and so is the Columbia River. have avoided numerous invasions from these more dangerous mollusks.
So what can you do to help? If you’re a boater, make sure to follow your state’s invasive aquatic species regulations, to make sure your boat is properly cleaned and doesn’t spread any unwanted organisms. from one waterway to another.