Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Robert Prezant

Committee Member

Scott Kight

Committee Member

Danlin Yu


The invasive freshwater bivalve Corbicula fluminea has gained notoriety as a macro-fouler of industrial waterways across the United States. Little is known about the specific habitat requirements that contribute to its successful colonization of riverine systems. Small, often immature clams (shell length <14 mm) passively drift downstream. Settlement in unsuitable habitat can limit burrowing, growth and reproduction, and lead to juvenile mortality. Settlement in suitable habitat however can result in population densities in excess of 10,000 ind./m . Sampling was conducted in diverse Northern New Jersey waterways between May and mid-October 2008 to assess the habitat conditions conducive to establishment of new populations. Within these sites there was a significant correlation between clam density and both dissolved oxygen level and Ambient Biological Monitoring Network EPT scores. There was no correlation between clam density and dominant grain size, substratum organic content or turbidity. It appears stochastic events largely governed the dispersal and settlement of juvenile and small mature Asian clams while microhabitat conditions can be associated with population density. Live specimens of C. fluminea were collected at 8 sites half of which appear to house stable reproducing populations of C. fluminea. The remaining sites could represent interim “stops” likely containing specimens that entered as a result of downstream drift. Anthropogenic disturbance regimes in New Jersey waterways may contribute to the successful invasion by the Asian clam. An understanding of the habitat and physicochemical characteristics associated with the spread of juvenile C. fluminea is crucial to predictive modeling of dispersal patterns.

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