Aquatic Invasive Species are a growing, unabated environmental crisis. Invasive species threaten public health, conservation efforts, commerce and recreation; current technology has been ineffective and incapable of stopping their spread.
Since the introduction of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) into the great lakes region in the 1980s, the spread of both zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) has resulted in substantial ecological and economic impact. An aggregated economic assessment of the impact of invasive mussel infestation in the Great Lakes reported a conservative estimate of over $100 million spent annually on mitigation efforts by water rights holders, utilities, state and federal government agencies, and fisheries. Industry is forced to utilize chemicals that are toxic to humans and the environment to control these invasive mussels in critical civil infrastructure. Currently, there is no treatment option available following infestation by quagga or zebra mussels that is functional at a relevant scale for the treatment of commercial water reservoirs without significant disruption of native species.
The most prevalent method used for early detection is plankton net sampling. This method detects and/or quantifies mussel activity by identifying veliger content as a proxy for mussel population. As such, this methodology requires active spawning for detection, making early detection difficult without significant expansion of sampling effort. However, expansion of sampling effort to the extent necessary to achieve high detection probability is often not feasible due to staffing constraints. Furthermore, current environmental DNA analysis techniques used to verify and/or detect infestations provide largely qualitative information and cannot determine if a positive signal results from a living and active population or a dead and non-active population.
Early-stage detection is critical for invasive species eradication success. EQO offers cutting-edge biotechnology using eDNA+ eRNA.
EQO Dx: Invasive population analytics powered by RNA.
EQO is the only company capable of offering eRNA solutions, providing the necessary metrics for scalable prevention and mitigation.
EQO offers scalable automated collection and preservation of biological samples for targeted and highly sensitive eDNA and eRNA analytics.
Mitigation and Treatment
EQO Rx: The prescription for restoration.
Environmentally friendly, biotherapeutic, eradication solution being developed with the support of the National Science Foundation and Bureau of Reclamation for the control of invasive mussels.
Quagga & Zebra Mussels
Environmental Issues: Alterations in dissolved oxygen content during blooms, decrease in soluble calcium carbonate, and a general transfer of localized biological ecosystems from planktonic systems to littoral systems by crashing populations of phytoplankton and animals feeding on phytoplankton.
Quagga Mussel Prevalence:
Zebra Mussel Prevalence:
People Affected: Public health, conservation efforts, commerce, and recreation. In short: everyone.
Economic Cost: Projected to be $7 billion dollars annually.