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We conducted a relocation study of unionid mussels in Navigation Pool 7 of the upper Mississippi River (river mile 713.2) to evaluate survival after handling and aerial exposure. Two separate studies were conducted to compare seasonal differences in mussel survival; the first was initiated in June and the second in October. Amblema plicata plicata (subfamily Ambleminae) and Obliquaria reflexa (subfamily Lampsilinae) were studied. Mussels were marked, held out of water for either 0, 1, 4, or 8 h, and then placed into a 3 x 3 m grid (divided into nine 1-m super(2) units). The mussels were re-examined after four-five months to measure mortality in the control and treatment groups. Mussels of both species had >90% survival after aerial exposure up to 4 h in both studies. However, survival (number recaptured live / number recaptured live and dead) of mussels showed a decreasing trend with duration of exposure in the first study, but not in the second study. The overall recovery of marked mussels (number recaptured/number marked) was 91% in the first study and 87% in the second study. However, only 37% of O. reflexa mussels in the 8-h treatment were recovered in the first study; the adjusted survival (number live recaptured/number marked) of this treatment group was significantly (p < 0.05) lower (35%) than all other treatments.
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Effects of handling and aerial exposure on the survival of unionid mussels