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Wednesday, January 31 • 11:20am - 11:40am
FISH PHYSIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR: Evaluating the Effects of Sampling Rate on Growth of Freshwater Mussels in Aquaria

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AUTHORS. Lindsay Ohlman, Dr. Mark Pegg, Dr. Jamilynn Poletto - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

ABSTRACT. Freshwater mussels (Family: Unionidae) are a highly imperiled faunal group in North America, and conservation of these aquatic invertebrates is becoming more frequent.  Recovery plans require substantial monitoring to document success or failure of management actions, but the effects of repeated handling during surveys are unknown.  Many mussel species burrow into substrate for stability in flowing water and in response to changing environmental conditions.  Unfortunately, this behavior does not allow for ease of study by researchers because the organism must be extracted from its habitat to collect biological data. A cessation or decrease in shell deposition is common in poikilothermic animals during periods of cold weather, but it is also a prevalent response to disturbances. Disturbance could be defined as removing the buried mussel from the substrate for the purpose of data collection, and return of the mussel to the substrate surface. This is cause for concern because routine monitoring may inadvertently alter growth.  This study quantifies the effects of different disturbance rates on the growth of Plain Pocketbook (Lampsilis cardium) mussels during a 12-week laboratory experiment.  Sixty propagated mussels were randomly allocated into control (no sampling during experiment) or one of three treatment groups that were: 1) sampled every other week, 2) sampled once per week, and 3) sampled twice per week. Results from this study will aid our understanding of the effects of disturbances, such as handling, on mussel growth and may influence monitoring regimes of future conservation efforts.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am CST