Corbicula fluminea is well known as an invasive filter-feeding freshwater bivalve with a variety of effects on ecosystem processes. However, C. fluminea has been relatively unstudied in the rivers of the western United States. In June 2003, we sampled C. fluminea at 16 sites in the San Joaquin River watershed of California, which was invaded by C. fluminea in the 1940s. Corbicula fluminea was common in 2 tributaries to the San Joaquin River, reaching densities of 200 clams · m−2, but was rare in the San Joaquin River. Biomass followed a similar pattern. Clams of the same age were shorter in the San Joaquin River than in the tributaries. Distribution of clams was different in the 2 tributaries, but the causes of the difference are unknown. The low density and biomass of clams in the San Joaquin River was likely due to stressful habitat or to water quality, because food was abundant. The success of C. fluminea invasions and subsequent effects on trophic processes likely depends on multiple factors. As C. fluminea continues to expand its range around the world, questions regarding invasion success and effects on ecosystems will become important in a wide array of environmental settings.
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Vol. 67 • No. 4