Daniel Mills

Daniel Mills

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Daniel Mills

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Start Year

2014 (Cohort 1)

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PhD Project
PhD Title

The Ecological Impacts and Environmental Challenges of a New Invasive Species in UK Rivers: The Quagga Mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis).

Research Theme

Environmental Pollution

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



The Ponto-Caspian bivalve Dreissena rostriformis bugensis (the ‘quagga mussel’) has become established in several west London waterbodies. This species was placed first on a CEH (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) list evaluating the top-30 potentially environmentally threatening non-native species for the UK. There should be great urgency towards achieving a better understanding of its current and potential implications for native ecology. Indeed, no researchers have yet quantitatively evaluated the biotic or abiotic impacts of quagga mussel on ecology in UK rivers. The first aim of this project will be to evaluate ecological impacts of quagga mussel within in its known UK range. In this respect, aspects of the benthic macroinvertebrate and phytoplankton community will be compared between a series of reference and invaded sites in rivers colonised by quagga mussel. In addition, an in situ experiment will be undertaken to assess the extent of facilitation between Dreissena spp. and other Ponto-Caspians in UK rivers. The second aim of this project will be to highlight challenges faced by conservation bodies and the competent authority in the face of quagga mussel establishment in the UK. The first approach will be to demonstrate the risk and potential rate of further spread from its current range. In this respect, surveys will be made to determine both the habitat preferences of quagga mussel and the potential downstream rate of veliger dispersal from a point source. The second approach shall be to demonstrate possible legislative issues following quagga mussel invasion. In this respect, data collected throughout the study will be used to determine the impact of quagga mussel on macroinvertebrate water quality indices routinely used by the Environment Agency for the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Following this, the issue of poorly defined penalties to the status of rivers (under WFD) following biological invasion will be discussed in the context of quagga mussel.

Policy Impact
Background Reading



Thames Estuary Partnership, supervised by Ms Pat Fitzsimons. 06/03/2017 – 04/06/2017.

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