Recent Advances in Freshwater Mussel Propagation for Endangered Species Recovery

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 11:30 AM
304B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Doug Aloisi , Genoa National Fish Hatchery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Genoa, WI
Threatened and Endangered freshwater mussel species culture has presented many challenges to resource agencies responsible for their preservation.  A wide array of interests, jurisdictions and conservation agencies maintain responsibility for the preservation of freshwater mussels, and coordination between agencies is paramount. Propagation techniques have yet to be defined for many mussel species, even as wild populations continue to decline.  Population declines not only make brood stock sources difficult to obtain, but presents other challenges that may hinder recovery strategies. To further complicate recovery, many mussel species have unknown or inconclusive hosts described in the literature and unique life history requirements.  Rare and Endanagered fish hosts that have not been previously cultured can also reduce production potential for Recovery projects.  Additional challenges that recovery projects face include the effects of introduced fish or other aquatic resources on the extant population(s) within the introduction area. Parameters such as genetic suitability, interspecific competition, and disease transfer are all significant questions to be evaluated prior to any introduction effort. An overview of the development and adaptive management techniques of current U.S. Fish and Wildlife restoration and recovery programs, including new culture strategies of freshwater mussels will be described.