RE: NANFA-L-- San Francisco Bay Invaders

Ben Dattilo (
Tue, 21 Mar 2006 22:59:16 -0500

I love the last line in this article. I remember visiting a few major public
aquaria and speculating that the Japanese tourists were talking about how
this or that fish would taste . . . after my brother came back from an
extended visit to Japan, he confirmed those speculations. A very different
approach to biology . . .

A more serious note along the same vein, Lately I have been walking along
the bank of the Ohio River from time to time, and I have noticed almost no
bivalves of any sort maybe a few Asiatic clams . . . When I was a kid
1960's, 70,s) it seemed that there were-in-least three common species of
native mussel, a few more rare types, and tons of Asiatic clams. Later (late
70's or early 80's), the old native mussels were very rare, but there was a
"bloom" of large "winged" mussels that resembled the old mussels in some
ways, but had a distinctly pink-purple coloration to the nacre. After that I
did not see much besides the Asiatic clam, until, a few years ago, I saw few
of anything but the Zebra mussel. Now even they are gone. . . .

This strikes me as odd--when I was a kid, we didn't really dare touch the
water, and I distinctly remember that the water was extremely murky. Now
the visibility looks much better, and I actually see kids playing in the
river (not mine), but from that same bank, the bivalve situation appears to
be dire, much worse than before. . .a long way from the time they would load
barges full of mussels into town to make pearl buttons out of them . . .

Does anyone have a clear picture of what is going on with the mussel
populations of the Ohio River? Is it all as bad as what I am seeing? I had
always figured that a lot of damage was done long before I was born, and
this later decline is a bit perplexing to me . . .If the native mussels
survived the sewage and the impoundment of the river, why after all of that
did they start declining just as the clean water act was taking effect?

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2006 7:19 PM
Subject: NANFA-L-- San Francisco Bay Invaders

A new ecosystem is forming in SF Bay.
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