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Tuesday, February 7 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Significance of Dreissenids in Native Freshwater Mussel Restoration

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AUTHORS: Megan Bradley; Nathan Eckert; Doug Aloisi - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Freshwater mussels are one of the most threatened taxa in North America. More than half of the 78 known species in the Midwest are listed as federally endangered, threatened or as state species of special concern.   The source of this imperilment is varied but includes the introduction of non-native mussels.  Dreissena polymorpha and bugensis continue to present threats to extant mussel populations but also present significant challenges to the restoration and recovery of native mussels.  There are progressively more tools available to restore and recover native mussels, however nearly all depend on collecting mussels from the wild.  In the Midwest only under the very best circumstances does there exist the opportunity to collect these animals from waters free of dreissenids.  Therefore biologists must be strategic in collecting and transporting these vital organisms.  This extends beyond wild animals to hatchery reared animals since some of the very best growth results from wild water and even cultured juvenile native mussels must be handled as potential vectors for dreissenid introduction.  Beyond this expected challenge, these unwelcome organisms also present other problems for the naïve native mussel restorer; biofouling of wild culture containers and concomitant increased investment in container cleaning, cost in time and money of cleaning and replacing gear used in infested waters and the additional time animals spend in either quarantine or cleaning and therefore the increased stress and potential loss.  

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom A

Attendees (7)