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In-situ feasibility study of freshwater mussel reintroduction : survival and growth of the wavy-rayed lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) in the Pigeon River, NC

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Caroline E. Rooney (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Advisor
Thomas Martin

Abstract: The Pigeon River, North Carolina has a long history of habitat degradation due to water diversion and high levels of toxic effluents from a paper mill. Over the last 20 years the paper mill has modernized its processes and reduced water use and waste production greatly. Historically, the wavy-rayed lampmussel, Lampsilis fasciola, was believed to have been present throughout the river from Canton to its mouth in Tennessee, but it currently persists only upstream of Canton, NC. In this preliminary study of the feasibility of restoring the mussels to the downstream reach, I compared the survival and growth of L. fasciola placed in the Pigeon River downstream from Canton with those placed upstream. Captively propagated mussels were individually marked and placed in enclosures in the river at two upstream sites and three downstream sites in December 2008. They were monitored for survival and growth monthly from December 2008-November 2009. Mortality rates among sites were not significantly different; however, growth rates of mussels held in the downstream sites were significantly greater than for those held at upstream sites. Highest growth rates were observed at a site located approximately 18 km downstream from Canton. Several influences may have impacted these growth rates, such as elevated temperature due to heated effluent and agricultural runoff with elevated nutrients. Assessment of survival at other life stages is needed before the full extent of potential for reintroduction of mussels to the studied reach of the Pigeon River is known.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
conservation, mussels, re-introduction
Subjects
Freshwater mussels -- Ecology -- Pigeon River (N.C. and Tenn.)
Lampsilis -- Ecology -- Pigeon River (N.C. and Tenn.)
Freshwater mussels -- Reintroduction -- Pigeon River (N.C. and Tenn.)
Lampsilis -- Reintroduction -- Pigeon River (N.C. and Tenn.)