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The decline in freshwater mussel populations in many river basins throughout North America has been attributed, in part, to land-use modifications that cause changes in sediment regimes. However, the specific associations that mussels have with stream sediments are poorly understood, making it difficult to assess the impacts of changes in sedimentation rates on unionid mussels. Both bed and suspended materials, and concomitant changes in channel form associated with changes in sediment supply, may affect mussels in numerous ways at various stages in their life cycle. Considerable debate and uncertainty remains regarding the strength of associations between sediments and mussels, including whether increased sedimentation is a cause of recent mussel declines. It is important to be aware of appropriate procedures for sampling and analyzing fluvial sediments, and the nature of sediment sources, to adequately assess relationships between unionid mussels and fluvial sediments.
Additional Publication Details
Sediment, land use, and freshwater mussels: Prospects and problems
Journal of the North American Benthological Society