Mytilopsis leucophaeata is a biofouling species which commonly disturbs coolant water systems of industrial and power plants. Its rapid reproduction in such an ideal environment may result in extremely dense populations that clog water intakes and may damage or cause failure to systems (Rajagopal et al, 2002c; Kennedy, 2010; Verween et al, 2006). Specific examples of its biofouling have been reported from Belgium, Finland, and the Netherlands with densities ranging from tens of thousands to even millions of individuals/m2 (Verween et al, 2007a; Laine et al, 2006; Rajagopal et al, 2002b). M. leucophaeata also fouls boats, ropes, cages, and other marine equipment (Bergstrom, 2004). Aside from biofouling, dense populations M. leucophaeata alter ecosystems and likely have significant ecological effects similar to that of the more widely researched dreissenid Zebra mussel, (Dreissena polymorpha), which demand further investigation.
Location Specific Impacts:
Fouling: Mytilopsis leucophaeata has established vigorous fouling populations in estuaries of Belgium (Laine et al, 2006). It causes major fouling problems to the cooling system of BASF Antwerp, Belgium (Verween et al, 2007a).
Fouling: Mytilopsis leucophaeata fouls power plant cooling water discharges in the Gulf of Finland and have been observed in densities as high as 28,000 individuals/m2 (Laine et al, 2006).
Fouling: Densities as high as 6.5 million/m2 have been recorded near power station intakes in the Noordzeekanaal where it is the dominant fouling species (Rajagopal et al, 2002b; Rajagopal et al, 2005b).