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Tuesday, January 26 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Mussel Madness In Michigan: Understanding A Rare Species Distribution and Ecological Preferences By Prioritizing Research Goals

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AUTHORS: Daelyn A. Woolnough*, Department of Biology and Institute for Great Lakes Research, Central Michigan University; Mandi L. Caldwell,Department of Biology and Institute for Great Lakes Research, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Snuffbox Epioblasma triquetra is federally endangered in the United States and Canada and is a member of arguably the most imperiled genera in the Family Unionidae. In Michigan, we have prioritized research projects and goals in order to target knowledge gaps that exist for this species in the Great Lakes region. In the last 5 years we have quantified 4 populations of snuffbox throughout Michigan and while quantifying distribution have successfully quantified other ecological preferences. We will present host fish, co-occuring unionid assemblage, and habitat preferences for the snuffbox. We have shown that snuffbox can use both logperch Percina caprodes and blackside darter Percina maculata as hosts and that transformation can occur on hosts from other watersheds. Host test results suggest seasonal differences in the developmental stages of snuffbox juveniles between spring and fall. We have evidence that snuffbox is found in diverse unionid assemblages and have been able to document the species that co-occur with this rare species by using a method that has helped managers understand diverse unionid assemblages. In the populations studied we have seen evidence of recruitment and longevity that has not been quantified before and we will present data on sex ratios, size class distributions, and how we have confirmed reproduction is occurring in these populations. We will present abiotic habitat preferences for the snuffbox and discuss the challenges of finding rare species downstream of low-head dams. Overall, these data are important for the conservation of snuffbox and other mollusk species and the process we used for detection and quantification can be used in conservation management.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Vandenberg B