Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oklahoma
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oklahoma Project

Assessing risk of invasion of Oklahoma reservoirs by bighead carp and zebra mussels

August 2010 - December 2011


Participating Agencies

  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
ANS project in Oklahoma.

Aquatic invasive species affect native ecosystems throughout the world and, in Oklahoma, two have been identified as being potentially very detrimental: bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), especially in reservoir systems. To understand the risk of these reservoirs to invasion by these two species, we worked with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation partners and used data from 26 large Oklahoma reservoirs to develop logistic regression models to predict the presence of these two species. While we found no satisfactory model for bighead carp, we found that zebra mussel presence was positively related to reservoir surface area. In an alternative approach to model bighead carp, we used geospatial data in conjunction with reproductive behavior to best understand the reservoirs at risk from invasion by this species. Based on size and hydrology of tributaries flowing into these reservoirs, most (18) were not suitable for bighead carp establishment. These results are useful for providing a baseline of establishment by these two species and as a screening tool for monitoring to prevent and rapidly respond to new invasions.