Zebra Mussel Control Experiments

September 14, 2011

Scientist testing method for zebra mussel control

Over 90% zebra mussel kill obtained under experimental conditions

WAPOA invites developer to discuss his research




Extra chairs extending into the next room had to be set up for those coming to this WAPOA sponsored presentation.

It was an indication of the great area interest in the zebra mussel threat

The speaker, Dr. Dan Molloy Ph.D, a research biologist at the State University of New York, did not disappoint.

He gave a compelling presentation, laid out in a crystal clear manner, which was enhanced by underwater video, some of it taken by himself on dives on Whitefish that morning.


Fortunately he did not find any evidence of zebra mussels at the several sites he visited.


Dr. Molloy discovered a substance in the cell membrane of a bacteria which can kill zebra mussels.  The magic is that in testing it is completely harmless to other things that live in water.


He stressed he did not want the listeners to think that his method for controlling zebra mussels was available now for killing zebra mussels in entire lakes.

At this point his method has only shown some promise in killing zebra mussels in power plant pipes.

He did stress that the apparently simple methods to keep zebra mussels out (boat inspection and education) are as powerful as anything we currently have, and should continue.


Many members of the audience stayed to ask him questions afterwards.

Audience extending into adjacent room 

Extra chairs had to be added as the audience extended beyond the main room



Dr. Molloy answering audience questions 

Dr. Molloy answering questions from audience toward end of his talk. 

Minnesota Water's new Executive Director Lois Lindquist, in black in back.



WAPOA President Dave Fischer introduces Dr. Molloy


WAPOA President Dave Fischer introduces Dr. Molloy



 Dr. Molloy surrounded by questioners after his talk. 
 They wanted to hear even more. Dr. Molloy is surrounded by audience members after his talk.


Dr. Molloy snorkeling for zebra musselsllDr. Molloy on Whitefish Chain
Dr. Molloy looking for evidence of zebra musselsHe found no evidence of zebra mussels on the Chain
On a cold day Dr. Molloy worked to stay warmnon-invasive "normal" mussels
Dr. Molloy trying to stay warm between dive sites

Native clams found with no zebra mussels starting to smother them ---(good news!)

Native clams recovered from Father Foley Bar.  The clams are the “canaries in the coal mine” because

They are an initial host for zebra mussels, especially when a lake has a high percentage of sand bottom where there are few hard surfaces for the Zebra Mussels to attach themselves

Photos courtesy Dave Fischer, WAPOA 




Story below announcing Dr. Molloy's visit:


 Dr. Dan Molloy, developer of zebra mussel control
Dr. Dan Molloy


Dr. Dan Molloy has developed a method of killing zebra mussels which has worked well in controled experiments.

When he feeds a certain toxin to zebra mussels over 90% of them die.

The toxin destroys the gut of the zebra mussel leading to the death of the zebra mussel.

Yet the toxin that destroys the zebra mussels does not seem to be toxic to any other living thing.




The toxin is found in the cell walls of a common bacteria, pseudomonas fluorescens. Dr. Molloy isolated a strain of the bacteria that produces the toxin.

He still has to demonstate that this method will work on a large scale in a lake.

Many of the promising experiments so far have been in closed water pipes in power plants.  Power plants have tremendous problems with zebra mussels plugging up pipes which bring needed cooling water to the power plant.

So come to hear this innovative researcher discuss his work. 

If this works out in "real lakes" on a large scale this could be the answer, or the beginning of an answer to zebra mussel infestations

With all the bad news about zebra mussels recently it is exciting to hear about research that has promise.


We are looking forward to presenting Dr. Molloy to our membership and hope that as many WAPOA members as possible will come to hear his presentation.

Attendance is encouraged for everyone interested in the zebra mussel problem whether a member of WAPOA or not.




Minnesota Waters has brought Dr. Molloy to Minnesota for the Minnesota Waters Week. 

He has made several presentations to area groups.

Dr. Molloy’s visit is made possible by Minnesota Waters in collaboration with the Whitefish Area
Property Owners Association.


Earlier in the day, he’ll tour and may conduct a dive in one of the 14 interconnected lakes.

Also while in Minnesota, Molloy will visit the Minneapolis lakes in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and Green Lake in Kandiyohi County – all under the umbrella of The Minnesota Waters Week.



Dr. Molloy's background:

Dr. Daniel Molloy is the inventor of the biological control method now being commercialized under the product name Zequanox™ -- a biopesticide with significant promise for the environmentally safe control of zebra/quagga mussels. Marked by a passion for environmental protection, his international research activities over the last three decades have resulted in over 80 scientific publications focusing on evaluating ecologically sound methods for controlling aquatic pests, in particular zebra/quagga mussels. He recently left his position as Director of the New York State Museum's Field Research lab to found Molloy & Associates, LLC, -- a consulting firm specializing in the transfer of scientific information to the public relating to the biology, ecology, and control of zebra/quagga mussels. He is also currently a Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York at Albany.