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Tuesday, January 26 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Predicting Habitat Suitability For Michigan’s Imperiled Mussels

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AUTHORS: Wesley M. Daniel*, Michigan State University; Arthur Cooper , Michigan State University; Pete Badra, Michigan State University Extension; Dana M. Infante, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: In Michigan, 28 of 45 unionid species are considered endangered, threatened, or of special concern. To aid in management of these unionid species, distributions of ten state listed/special concern species and one federally listed endangered species (Epioblasma triquetra) were modeled using ecological parameters necessary to characterize habitat suitability within the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Habitat suitability values were proportional to likelihood of occurrence. Mussel data were provided by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory unionid assemblage surveys and Natural Heritage Database and reflected site occurrences from 1990-2012. We utilized Maximum Entropy Modeling (MaxEnt) that employed natural and anthropogenic landscape and habitat variables including measures indicating land cover, river fragmentation by dams, streamflow variables, and water temperature. Because host fishes are also important determinants of mussel distributions, host fish distributions were also modeled with MaxEnt with the same set of landscape and habitat variables, with results integrated into mussel models. Models predicted that between 1,274 to 11,205 km of stream would be broadly suitable for occurrence of the 11 modeled uniond species. Highly suitable habitat icluded between 330 to 3,241 km of stream reaches. Natural variables were the strongest indicators of suitable habitat for all species, but E. triquetra that had strong influences from dams and agricultural land uses. The top four variables determining suitable habitat for unionids include stream discharge (QA50), host fish habitat suitability, urban land use, and upstream dam density. The evaluation of all eleven models of suitable habitats can provide information on best available habitat in the state for multiple listed species. The combination of modeled unionid distributions along with the statewide important ecological parameters can allow for more informed decisions in conservation planning and management of Michigan’s listed unionids.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Vandenberg B