Freshwater Mussels Essay

Freshwater Mussels Essay

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Freshwater Mussels

Mussels are a species of marine life that inhabits many of the bodies of water in the United States. They serve as an important aspect of the ecological system of the water in which they occupy. However, the number of mussels have been declining such that many are now considered as endangered species. There are a few reasons for the decline in population, including domination by a single species of mussels called the zebra mussel. Conservation has begun on mussels because of their strong environmental influence. The two groups interested in mussels involve parties that use the lakes for recreation and consider mussels as a threat to their gaming as well as ecologists that understand the domination of zebra mussels and attempt to protect the native mussels from the zebra mussels.

Mussels are in a group of invertebrate animals called mollusks. Freshwater mussels are also referred to as clams, naiads, and unionids. Mussels spend its life anchored in rivers or lake bottom sediments. The vast majority of them are found in streams. Their movement is through either muscular feet or powerful flood currents. A mussel captures oxygen and microscopic food particles in flowing water through filtration (Vermont's Freshwater WWW). Mussels continuously pump water through their bodies. Water enters through the incurrent or branchial siphon and exits via the excurrent or anal siphon (Mussel Biology WWW). This pumping process allows the mussel to filter food from the water. The food consists of detritus, organic matter found on the stream, and plankton which are microscopic plants and animals suspended in water (Mussel Biology WWW). Mussels are long lived species with some living more than 10 years. Others have been record...


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...reissena polymorpha. NAS. Prepared by the Florida Caribbean Science Center of the Biological Resources Division: http://www.nfrcg.gov/zebra.mussel/docs/sp_account.html#HDR2.

Mussel Biology. http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/cwe/wwwtest/mussel/Pages/introduction.html

Vermont's Freshwater Mussels Uniqueness and Diversity, Now Under Siege. The Nature Conservancy of Vermont. http://tnc.org/searchtnc.html (second listing under search for mollusk).

West Coast Mollusc Culture: A present and future perspective proceedings of a California Sea Grant Workshop in cooperation with the Pacific Sea Grant College Program. edited by Rosemary Amidei. La Jolla, CA California Sea Grant College Program, Institute of Maine Resources, University of California 1988: 87 pages.

Zebra Mussel: Dreissena polymorpha. http://tnc.org/searchtnc.html (first listing under search for mollusk).

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