Title

“Happy as a clam…or not? Challenges of quantifying stress response in freshwater mussels

Item Type

Presentation

Location

Elaine Langone, Forum

Session

Aquatic Ecosystems - Stress and Response

Start Date

27-10-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

27-10-2018 4:30 PM

Keywords

freshwater mussels, toxicology, stress response, mussel conservation, mussel restoration

Description

Freshwater mussels are one of the most critically imperiled groups of organisms worldwide, and state and federal resource agencies are placing increased emphasis on mussel conservation and restoration. A thorough understanding of environmental conditions suitable for restoration is needed for nearly all species of conservation concern. Unfortunately, quantifying suitable, optimal, and even tolerable conditions for mussels can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Freshwater mussels can burrow beneath the sediment or temporarily close their shells for up to days at a time to avoid stressors. Because of this and other life history characteristics, traditional metrics of stress used for marine mussels or other aquatic organisms can be highly variable among individuals and often uninformative. Further challenges lie in the fact that mussels can exhibit delayed response to stressors: toxicology studies greater than 60 days can be necessary to observe effects of certain contaminants. Quantifying stress in rare or endangered species can be especially problematic when these issues are combined with low numbers of individuals for field studies or experimental statistical power. Here, we present a synthesis of these difficulties inherent in studying stress response in freshwater mussels from laboratory research conducted on a variety of common and rare species. We evaluate a range of traditional stress response metrics, their application to mussels in general, and discuss the use of emerging technology in overcoming these challenges.

Language

eng

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Oct 27th, 3:30 PM Oct 27th, 4:30 PM

“Happy as a clam…or not? Challenges of quantifying stress response in freshwater mussels

Elaine Langone, Forum

Freshwater mussels are one of the most critically imperiled groups of organisms worldwide, and state and federal resource agencies are placing increased emphasis on mussel conservation and restoration. A thorough understanding of environmental conditions suitable for restoration is needed for nearly all species of conservation concern. Unfortunately, quantifying suitable, optimal, and even tolerable conditions for mussels can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Freshwater mussels can burrow beneath the sediment or temporarily close their shells for up to days at a time to avoid stressors. Because of this and other life history characteristics, traditional metrics of stress used for marine mussels or other aquatic organisms can be highly variable among individuals and often uninformative. Further challenges lie in the fact that mussels can exhibit delayed response to stressors: toxicology studies greater than 60 days can be necessary to observe effects of certain contaminants. Quantifying stress in rare or endangered species can be especially problematic when these issues are combined with low numbers of individuals for field studies or experimental statistical power. Here, we present a synthesis of these difficulties inherent in studying stress response in freshwater mussels from laboratory research conducted on a variety of common and rare species. We evaluate a range of traditional stress response metrics, their application to mussels in general, and discuss the use of emerging technology in overcoming these challenges.