Use of on-site refugia to protect unionid populations from zebra mussel-induced mortality

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Protecting unionid populations as zebra mussels spread into inland waterways has relied mainly on relocating at-risk animals into aquaculture facilities. While such relocations are the only viable management technique for some populations, facility availability is limited, leaving many unionids facing extirpation. Another management strategy is in-situ protection either by enhancing natural refugia or by creating managed refugia. We have reviewed all reports of natural refugia and found that refugia for unionids can be found in many areas. There are many habitats where zebra mussel colonization has been limited, or of a temporary nature. Within zebra mussel infested areas, unionid communities continue to survive in some shallow water sites such as estuaries, deltas, and lake-connected wetlands. Managed refugia can be created in areas where natural refugia do not exist. We present a case study on recent efforts to create refugia in an area with rapidly expanding zebra mussel populations. Preliminary analysis of unionid body condition indicates that removal of encrusted zebra mussels only once a year can improve unionid condition factors and decrease mortality. Natural and managed refugia can provide an additional conservation management option in some areas.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Use of on-site refugia to protect unionid populations from zebra mussel-induced mortality
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher Ohio Biological Survey
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Subtype Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Freshwater mollusk symposia proceedings
First page 67
Last page 75
Conference Title Freshwater mollusk symposia
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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