skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1942707

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    The United States of America has a diverse collection of freshwater mussels comprising 301 species distributed among 59 genera and two families (Margaritiferidae and Unionidae), each having a unique suite of traits. Mussels are among the most imperilled animals and are critical components of their ecosystems, and successful management, conservation and research requires a cohesive and widely accessible data source. Although trait-based analysis for mussels has increased, only a small proportion of traits reflecting mussel diversity in this region has been collated. Decentralized and non-standardized trait information impedes large-scale analysis. Assembling trait data in a synthetic dataset enables comparison across species and lineages and identification of data gaps. We collated data from the primary literature, books, state and federal reports, theses and dissertations, and museum collections into a centralized dataset covering information on taxonomy, morphology, reproductive ecology and life history, fish hosts, habitats, thermal tolerance, geographic distribution, available genetic information, and conservation status. By collating these traits, we aid researchers in assessing variation in mussel traits and modelling ecosystem change.

    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The interaction of climate change and increasing anthropogenic water withdrawals is anticipated to alter surface water availability and the transport of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) in river networks. But how changes to river flow will alter the balance, or stoichiometry, of these fluxes is unknown. The Lower Flint River Basin (LFRB) is part of an interstate watershed relied upon by several million people for diverse ecosystem services, including seasonal crop irrigation, municipal drinking water access, and public recreation. Recently, increased water demand compounded with intensified droughts have caused historically perennial streams in the LFRB to cease flowing, increasing ecosystem vulnerability. Our objectives were to quantify how riverine dissolved C:N:P varies spatially and seasonally and determine how monthly stoichiometric fluxes varied with overall water availability in a major tributary of LFRB. We used a long‐term record (21–29 years) of solute water chemistry (dissolved organic carbon, nitrate/nitrite, ammonia, and soluble reactive phosphorus) paired with long‐term stream discharge data across six sites within a single LFRB watershed. We found spatial and seasonal differences in soluble nutrient concentrations and stoichiometry attributable to groundwater connections, the presence of a major floodplain wetland, and flow conditions. Further, we showed that water availability, as indicated by the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), strongly predicted stoichiometry with generally lower C:N and C:P and higher N:P fluxes during periods of low water availability (PDSI < −4). These patterns suggest there may be long‐term and significant changes to stream ecosystem function as water availability is being dramatically altered by human demand with consequential impacts on solute transport, in‐stream processing, and stoichiometric ratios.

    more » « less
  3. The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to assess aquatic biodiversity is a growing field with great potential for monitoring and managing threatened species, like freshwater mussel (Unionidae) populations. Freshwater mussels are globally imperiled and serve essential roles in aquatic systems as a food source and as a natural water filter making their management essential for ecosystem health. Unfortunately, mussel populations are often understudied, and challenges exist to accurately and efficiently describe the full suite of species present. Multispecies eDNA approaches may also be more challenging where freshwater mussel populations are most diverse due to ongoing and significant taxonomic restructuring that has been further complicated by molecular phylogenies using mitochondrial genes. For this study, we developed a microfluidic metabarcoding array that targets a wide range of species, from invertebrates to fishes, with an emphasis on detecting unionid mussels known to be present in the Sipsey River, Alabama. We compared mussel species diversity across six sites with well-studied mussel assemblages using eDNA surveys and traditional quadrat surveys in 2016. We examined how factors such as mussel population density, biomass and location in the river substrate impacted our ability to detect certain species; and investigated unexpected eDNA detections through phylogenetic analysis. Our eDNA results for fish and mussel species were broadly consistent with the data from traditional electrofishing and quadrat-based field surveys, although both community eDNA and conventional sampling detected species unique to that method. Our phylogenetic analysis agreed with other studies that treat Pleurobema decisum and P. chattanoogaense as synonymous species; however, they are still listed as unique species in molecular databases which complicates their identity in a metabarcoding assay. We also found that Fusconaia flava and F. cerina are indistinguishable from one another using a portion of the NADH dehydrogenase Subunit 1 (ND1) marker, which may warrant further investigation into whether or not they are synonymous. Our results show that many factors impacted our ability to detect and correctly identify Unionidae mussel species. Here we describe the obstacles we faced, including the murky phylogeny of Unionidae mussels and turbid river conditions, and our development of a potentially impactful freshwater mussel monitoring eDNA assay. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
  5. null (Ed.)