Case Studies in Earth & Environmental Science Journalism

Zebra Mussel Invasion.


Questions to Ponder and Discuss

A BIG GENERAL THEME: Keep in mind this and the shark study. What are the positive and negative effects of 'scare tactics' employed by journalists/environmentalists/industry etc? What might be more effective? How can we responsibly depict issues in which data is often absent, scarce, anecdotal, or in flux, without feeding distrust of the scientific community? Also, in this study, do you think any of the authors play on what might be the general xenophobia of the public? What about the general fascination with apocalyptic events? How might these effect actions?

IN THE END: Who is more convincing, the apocalypse prophesiers, or those who consider the issue to be overstated? Sit back for a second. In what priority level would you rank zebra mussel control compared to, say, gathering shark attack data? ANWR? Exploring Europa? Funding public schools?..etc. etc. How can we work to make readers able to categorize a problem appropriately? Why was that attempt often failed at with regard to sharks? In the end, where is the zebra mussel problem in your mind, and what facts, stories, quotes most influenced your image of the issue?



Scientific articles.

Ludyanskiy, Michael L., Derek McDonald and David MacNeill, 1993. Impact of the Zebra Mussel, a Bivalve Invader: Dreissena polymorpha is rapidly colonizing hard surfaces throughout waterways of the United States and Canada. Bioscience, 43(8): 533-544.

Berkman, Paul Arthur et. al. 1998. Zebra Mussels invade Lake Erie muds. Nature, 393: 27-28.

Molloy, Daniel P. 1998. The Potential for Using Biological Control Technologies in the Management of Dreissena SPP. J. Shellfish Research, 17(1): 177-183..


Popular Articles.

Boyle, Robert H. 1990. In Shock Over Shells. Sports Illustrated, 73(16): 88-95.

Ward, Janet, 1992. Attack of the Zebra Mussel!. The American City & County; Pittsfield, 107(12): 30-35.

Yount, David, 1990. The Eco-Invaders. EPA Journal, 16(6): 51-53.

Davis, R.G. 1996-97. In Defense of the Zebra Mussel. Earth Island Journal, Winter 1996/1997: 32-33.

Mondy, Marvin, 1994. Measuring the Effects of Invasion: The Zebra Mussel. Earth Focus Website:

Chou, P.Y. 1999. What is the current status of the ‘invasion' of non-native zebra mussels in the Great Lakes? Has the invasion been stopped or controlled? And what ecological damage has this creature caused other than the clogging of drainage pipes? (answer to question posted Oct. 21, 1999).

Leutwyler, Kristin, 2001. Radio Waves Capable of Killing Off Pesky Zebra Mussels.

Unknown. (Question 7 answer from “An Exotic Species Quiz”).

Wilson, E.O. and Dan L. Perlman, 2000. Conserving Earth's Biodiversity. Earthscape,, 2 pgs.

Haverson, Guy, 1992. The Man Who Watches Buffalo's Water. Christian Science Monitor, Wed. May 27, 1992: p. 8.

Associated Press, 1992. Blue Crabs May be Used to Control Zebra Mussels. San Francisco Chronicle, Wed. March 4, 1992: p. A5.

Associated Press, 1990. African Plant Could Stop a Harmful Mussel. San Francisco Chronicle, Sat. Oct. 20, 1990: p. A12.

Kelly, Sean, 1990. Congress Tries to Tackle the Zebra Mussel. San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 1990: p. A7.

Associated Press, 2001. Zebra Mussels are Dying. The Capital Times (Madison, WI), Oct. 24, 2001: p. 12D.

Associated Press, 2001. Zebra Mussels Portrayed as River Villains They've Improved Fishing by Clearing the Water in the Mississippi, but They're a Menace to Other Aquatic Life, Expert Says. Wisconsin State, Wed. April 4, 2001: p. B1.

Schmidt, William E, 1990. Lakes Stir with Fears of Mollusk. New York Times, Dec. 3, 1990: p. A16.

Feron, James, 1990. Hudson Mussel is Not a Zebra, Experts Decide. New York Times, Dec. 1, 1990: p. 28.

Charlebois, Pat, 1998. Zebra Mussel in Illinois Inland Lake Threaten Other Waterways. Aces News - University of Illinois, April 2, 1998.

Beattie, Mollie, 1994. Why Care About a Snail the Size of Pinhead? High Country News 26(2).

Unkown?? 1995. Pepacton Reservois: Big Apple Browns. Field and Stream 100(2): p. 81.

Ryan, Will, 1996. Shell Shockers. Outdoor Life. New York, Aug. 1996 198(2): p. 8.

Janowski, Pat, 1995. The Redeeming Qualities of Zebra Mussels (Continuum Section). Omni. New York, Winter 1995 17(9): p. 23.

Newsview Section. Chinese Black Carp vs. Zebra Mussel. USA Today. New York, Dec. 1993 122(2583): p. 9.

Perich, Shawn, 1998. Mussel-ing In. Outdoor Life (Regional News Section). New York, Dec. 1997 / Jan. 1998 200(5): p. 100.

Marshall, Bob, 1994. Mussel Poses No Reason to Panic: Zebras' Southern Stampede. Field and Stream. LA, Feb. 1994 98(10): p. 65.

States News Service, 1992. In the War Against Zebra Mussels, the Front is Getting Closer. New York Times, Dec. 6, 1992: p. WC1.

Saslow, Linda, 1993. Will the Zebra Mussels Invade L.I.? New York Times, Jul. 11, 1993: p. LI8.

Jaquette, Leslee, 1994. Zebra Mussels: How Serious a Threat? Trailer Boats, Apr. 1994 23(4): p. 70.

McCosh, Dan, 1995. Aliens Among Us. Popular Science. New York, May 1995 246(5): p. 94.

Cohen, Jon, 1994. Flood Flexes its Mussels. Science. Washington, March 4, 1994 263(5151): p. 1226


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