Humans are placing tremendous pressure on native freshwater mussel populations in the GCP LCC region, and factors contributing to their decline include historical overharvest, water pollution, land use alteration, and increased utilization of water resources for municipal and agricultural purposes. The GCP LCC identified Quadrula as a focal genus in part because of their sensitivity to changes in water quality and quantity, making them akin to the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’. However, a lack of knowledge of these species’ life history, current distribution, and ecology, as well as limited understanding of how threats specifically affect mussels in different regions and over different spatial scales, limits the ability to set population objectives and define strategic conservation needs. The goal of this project is to compile information on current distributions, life history traits, ecology and conservation needs of Quadrula species and other sympatric unionid species, as well as management actions occurring and proposed for these species; information that can serve as foundational information for further conservation planning efforts for these species.
The project objectives were:
Dr. Dana Infante is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. Her research expertise is in the area of aquatic landscape ecology, and she has served as PI on multiple large-scale projects to understand landscape influences on characteristics of river habitats and the aquatic organisms they support. Examples include a national assessment of river habitats for the National Fish Habitat Partnership and a national Aquatic GAP Analysis to broadly characterize conservation needs of stream fishes.
Dr. Wesley Daniel is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. He received his doctorate from Louisiana State University, and his dissertation focused on modeling the influence of significant human and natural variables on unionid mussel assembles in southern Louisiana. He has published nine peer-reviewed manuscripts in the last four years on unionid mussel ecology and life history, including the first documented known host fishes for Quadrula refulgens (Lea, 1868).