Quagga mussel: an invasive species in Switzerland waters
Since 2014, Switzerland has been facing a major problem: the unintentional introduction in our lakes of the quagga mussel Dreissena bugensis. It is an invasive species and has devastating consequences on our biodiversity and water distribution systems because of its rapid growth (Figure 1). Its propagation is currently resulting in a dramatic loss of biodiversity in our Swiss lakes and significant economic problems. At present, this invasive species is found in about ten Swiss lakes (Figure 2). Moreover, quagga mussels are also present in many lakes throughout Europe and several freshwater regions in North America, therefore representing a worrying worldwide problem. In the United States, the costs linked to managing the colonization of quagga mussels amount to 1 billion dollars. Every year in Switzerland, it costs several million francs.
Due to the massive impact on the environment and infrastructure caused by quagga mussels, the 2022 University of Lausanne iGEM team decided to tackle this issue. Our goal is to find a solution to this local, as well as global problem, by working hand in hand with professionals and people affected by this invasive species. We aim to eradicate and stop the spread of quagga mussels in Switzerland and worldwide.