WSU Assesses the impact of invasive Asiatic clams in Patch Reservoir

In New England with its penchant for clam chowder, one would think a rise in the local freshwater clam population of Worcester’s ponds and reservoirs would presumably be nothing to complain about, and even welcomed.

Dr. Diana Sharpe of Worcester State University believes that it may be too much of a good thing. Hailing from the tropics, Corbicula fluminea, commonly known as Asiatic clams, are not our typical New England clams. Over the last few decades they’ve been spreading across the country and expanding into cold or temperate climates here as well. “It’s actually found on all continents now except Antarctica,” said Sharpe.

Along with a student assistant, Sharpe will be examining water bodies throughout Worcester County this summer to assess the spread. Last week she went out on Patch Reservoir for a baseline biodiversity survey. While no C. fluminea were found on Patch, a colony is confirmed in Lake Quinsigamond, along with community reports of sightings in other water bodies.

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