Status And Population Genetics Of The Alabama Spike (Elliptio Arca) In The Mobile River Basin

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel H. Mason (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Michael Gangloff

Abstract: Declines in freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionioda) are widely reported but rarely rigorously tested, the population genetics of most species are virtually unknown. In the Mobile River Basin (MRB), many range-restricted taxa have been heavily impacted by riverine alterations, including the Alabama spike (Elliptio arca). I quantified the extent of declines in E. arca range based on naïve occupancy. I calculated change in area of occurrence (AOO) between 1987-2002 and 2003-2016 using 12 digit USGS HUCs. Concurrently, I described the population-level genetics of E. arca and identified differentiated lineages. There was no statistically significant change in occupancy over the past 30 y. AOO increased by 5.6% from 1987-2002 to 2003-2016. My data provide no evidence to indicate that E. arca warrants elevated conservation status. Genetic data show conflicting measures of diversity, and low rates of gene flow between drainages. Intraspecific genetic structure in E. arca is related to the geographic separation of the Tombigbee and Tallapoosa River Drainages. My research shows a lack of evidence for population declines or decrease in occupied area, that detection is low for E. arca, and that there are at least two divergent meta-populations. These findings will help inform management decisions for this native taxon.

Additional Information

Mason, D. (2017). "Status And Population Genetics Of The Alabama Spike (Elliptio Arca) In The Mobile River Basin." Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Freshwater mussel conservation, Unionidae, naïve occupancy, microsatellites, genetic structure

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