Remnant Freshwater Mussel Diversity in Rondeau Bay, Lake Erie
AbstractIn 2014 and 2015, 27 sites in Rondeau Bay, Ontario, Canada, were surveyed for freshwater mussels. Rondeau Bay is a large coastal wetland on the north shore of Lake Erie. Twenty-three species were identified from 120 live mussels, 15 fresh whole shells, 329 weathered whole shells, and 1121 weathered valves. Live individuals of the following species were collected: Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta; endangered in Canada), Giant Floater (Pyganodon grandis), Round Pigtoe (Pleurobema sintoxia;endangered in Canada), and Three-ridge (Amblema plicata). Fresh whole shells of the Mapleleaf (Quadrula quadrula; threatenedin canada) were also found. Most species (78%), including 7 species at risk, were collected only as weathered shells. These results indicate a substantial decline in freshwater mussel diversity since the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) invasion of Lake Erie. Evidence shows that a viable population of only Giant Floater remains.
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