Murray State University

Poster Title

Aquatic Ecology at Hancock Biological Station: Study 2: (Mueller) Mussel Habitat Affinities in the Clarks River, Kentucky

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Mussels are a critical part of aquatic ecosystems and provide valuable ecosystem and economic services. The Clarks River is a north flowing, 5th-order tributary of the Tennessee River in Western Kentucky in a region of high mussel diversity. We surveyed 12 sites and collected habitat data from them. All sites selected were based on access and were at least 500 m apart. We searched for mussels and recorded habitat information within a 50 meter reach at each site. Two person hours were spent searching for mussels at each site. Habitat data were taken every ten meters using a 1 x 1 meter quadrat was placed at a randomly determined distance from shore, and depth, percent cover, and particle size of the substratum were recorded. A chain width was taken at zero and fifty meters, which when compared with the surface width providing an index of river bed unevenness. A YSI sonde was used to measure pH, turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and oxidation-reduction potential. We have located 164 mussels of 14 species in the sites. Based on our preliminary data thus far, there was a significant positive relationship between latitude and total mussel numbers (r2 =0.44, p=0.02) and a significant decrease in mussel numbers with increasing particle size (r2 =0.33, p=0.05). These data will help us to understand habitat use in mussels and better predict where to find them.

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Aquatic Ecology at Hancock Biological Station: Study 2: (Mueller) Mussel Habitat Affinities in the Clarks River, Kentucky

Mussels are a critical part of aquatic ecosystems and provide valuable ecosystem and economic services. The Clarks River is a north flowing, 5th-order tributary of the Tennessee River in Western Kentucky in a region of high mussel diversity. We surveyed 12 sites and collected habitat data from them. All sites selected were based on access and were at least 500 m apart. We searched for mussels and recorded habitat information within a 50 meter reach at each site. Two person hours were spent searching for mussels at each site. Habitat data were taken every ten meters using a 1 x 1 meter quadrat was placed at a randomly determined distance from shore, and depth, percent cover, and particle size of the substratum were recorded. A chain width was taken at zero and fifty meters, which when compared with the surface width providing an index of river bed unevenness. A YSI sonde was used to measure pH, turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and oxidation-reduction potential. We have located 164 mussels of 14 species in the sites. Based on our preliminary data thus far, there was a significant positive relationship between latitude and total mussel numbers (r2 =0.44, p=0.02) and a significant decrease in mussel numbers with increasing particle size (r2 =0.33, p=0.05). These data will help us to understand habitat use in mussels and better predict where to find them.