Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers move endangered mussels to save them

12.09.2013
Researchers have transported two endangered freshwater mussel species from Pennsylvania to Illinois in an attempt to re-establish their populations in the western part of the Ohio River Basin.

The team of biologists, led by Jeremy Tiemann, of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), traveled to the site of a bridge-replacement project on Pennsylvania’s Allegheny River to collect northern riffleshell (Epioblasma rangiana) and clubshell (Pleurobema clava) mussels. The INHS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.


Photo courtesy: Jeremy Tiemann

A team of biologists, headed by Jeremy Tiemann of the Illinois Natural History Survey, transported two endangered freshwater mussel species, the northern riffleshell (Epioblasma rangiana) and clubshell (Pleurobema clava, pictured), from Pennsylvania to Illinois.

The two mussel species historically had inhabited the Ohio River Basin, an area that stretches from Illinois to Pennsylvania and New York to Kentucky. The 2- to 3-inch-long northern riffleshells and their larger clubshell counterparts make their homes three or more inches beneath the surface of the gravel layer they live in, Tiemann said.

There are more than 30,000 individual mussels of these species living under Pennsylvania’s Hunter Station Bridge. The bridge-replacement project brings with it the potential for huge losses of the already endangered species, he said.

Mussels reproduce by attaching their juveniles to certain species of fish, so finding a suitable habitat for them can be a challenge. The northern riffleshell was “last seen alive in Illinois about a hundred years ago,” Tiemann said. There are sites on the Vermillion River in Illinois that serve as the perfect backdrop for the re-establishment of populations in the species’ historical range, he said.

“It is a win-win situation for everybody,” Tiemann said. “We save the mussels and get a new population here in Illinois.”

The team collected the mussels over a two-day period in late August, and then brought them to their lab in Illinois to be tagged with a “microchip similar to what you put in your dog or cat. (It’s) the size of a large grain of rice,” Tiemann said.

Last year, the group collected and transported 1,000 northern riffleshells and 200 clubshells. The team has seen an 80 percent survivorship within this group.

This year, they transported 750 clubshell and 250 northern riffleshell mussels.

The benefit of the project stretches beyond simply removing these species from the endangered list. Mussels have “their own little niche within the ecosystem and food webs” of their habitats, Tiemann said. Their shells provide a home for many fish and insects. They also are effective biofilters that help clean the water.

“A group of mussels in a tight area can filter as much water as a treatment plant,” Tiemann said. “Hopefully we will one day be able to pinpoint the exact monetary value of these Vermillion River mussels so policymakers can translate the science into dollars.”

For now, Tiemann is happy to see the restoration making waves among enthusiastic farmers, government wildlife agencies and concerned citizens.

“A lot of people like to be outside, and this is one thing we can do to restore this scenic river to its pre-settlement condition,” Tiemann said.

Editor's note:
To reach Jeremy Tiemann, call 217-244-4594; email jtiemann@illinois.edu

Chelsey B. Coombs | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>