Smoke on the Water: Comparative Assessment of Combined Thermal Shock Treatments for Control of Invasive Asian Clam, Corbicula fluminea

Neil E Coughlan, Ross N Cuthbert, Eoghan M Cunningham, Stephen Potts, Diarmuid McSweeney, Gina Y W Vong, Emma Healey, Kate Crane, Joe M Caffrey, Frances E Lucy, Eithne Davis, Jaimie T A Dick

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Suppression of established populations of invasive alien species can be a complex and expensive process, which is frequently unsuccessful. The Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774), is considered a high impact invader that can adversely alter freshwater ecosystems and decrease their socioeconomic value. To date, C. fluminea continues to spread and persist within freshwater environments worldwide, despite repeated management attempts to prevent dispersal and suppress established populations. As extensive C. fluminea beds can often become exposed during low-water conditions, the direct application of hot or cold thermal shock treatments has been proposed as suitable mechanism for their control. Further, mechanical substrate disturbance may enhance the efficacy of thermal shock treatments by facilitating exposures to multiple layers of buried clams. In the present study, we advanced these methods by assessing combined applications of both hot and cold thermal shock treatments for control of C. fluminea, using steam spray (≥100 °C; 350 kPa), low- or high-intensity open-flame burns (~1000 °C) and dry ice (-78 °C). In a direct comparison of raking combined with hot thermal shock applications, both steam and high-intensity open-flame treatments tended to be most effective, especially following multiple applications. In addition, when hot thermal treatments are followed by a final cold shock (i.e. dry ice), steam treatments tended to be most effective. Further, when dry ice was applied either alone or prior to an application of a hot shock treatment, substantial if not complete C. fluminea mortality was observed. Overall, this study demonstrated that combined applications of hot and cold thermal shock treatments, applied following the disruption of the substrate, can substantially increase C. fluminea mortality compared to separate hot or cold treatments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Management
Early online date29 Apr 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 29 Apr 2021


  • Biosecurity
  • Eradication
  • Invasive alien species
  • Open-flame heat torch
  • Population control
  • Thermal shock


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