Modeling Habitat Suitability for Threatened Mussel Species in East Texas Rivers

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 8:20 AM
Harris Brake (The Marriott Little Rock)
Lance Williams , University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX
Marsha Williams , University of Texas at Tyler
Neil Ford , University of Texas at Tyler
Recently, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department listed 6 species of mussels that occur in East Texas as threatened.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering some of these species for federal listing.  Ten species of fish that occur in East Texas rivers are also listed as threatened or species of concern.  In 2008, we began intensively surveying for these species.  Many of the rivers were completely lacking historical data.  We have been using ecological niche modeling to predict the distribution of these species across their range.  We have also recently completed a comparison of different modeling techniques for one mussel species – the Texas pigtoe, Fusconaia askewi.  Field validation of models took place in Summer 2012.  Models overpredicted at higher habitat suitability and underpredicted at lower habitat suitability.  The final models will be an important landuse planning tool for state and federal agencies charged with managing these rare species.