Robotic monitoring to assess impacts of zebra mussels and assimilative capacity for a river

Joseph S. Denkenberger, David M. O'Donnell, Charles T. Driscoll, Steven W. Effler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Water quality impacts of zebra mussel metabolism over an infested 15 km reach of the Seneca River, N.Y., are documented, based on vertically and temporally detailed robotic monitoring at the reach boundaries during the summer through early fall intervals of 2 years. Substantial reductions over the study reach are documented for dissolved, oxygen (DO), pH, fluorometric chlorophyll a, and turbidity, associated with the metabolism of this invader. Violations of New York State water quality standards for DO that would not be resolved, by traditional manual monitoring programs were observed. The loss of assimilative capacity caused, by the zebra mussel invasion is confounding rehabilitation efforts for a downstream polluted lake that had considered diversion of municipal effluent to the river. The critical role robotic monitoring units would play in an automated control system for an innovative strategy of time-variable river discharge of the effluent is described. Near-real time robotic monitoring provides a more detailed understanding of the impacts of zebra mussels on water quality than traditional less intensive manual measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-506
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Dissolved oxygen
  • River systems
  • Robotics
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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