Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oklahoma
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oklahoma Project

Quantifying freshwater mussel abundance and composition in two prairie rivers of northern Oklahoma with the aid of side scan sonar to identify novel habitat patches

January 2023 - June 2025


Participating Agencies

  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Prairie rivers of northern Oklahoma such as the Verdigris and Caney rivers harbor a diverse assemblage of freshwater mussels, but drivers of their abundance and composition are not well known. Previous research focused on proportional abundance using timed searches, which impedes inferences about temporal trends. Moreover, recent studies nearby have documented increases in rare species, suggesting some species may be more prevalent than previously documented or locally abundant in certain locations. This project partners with biologists from Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and US Fish and Wildlife Service to identify freshwater mussel habitat within the Verdigris and Caney rivers of northern Oklahoma and use quantitative sampling in identified mesohabitats to estimate density and community composition. Calculation of detection and occupancy estimates among mesohabitat types will aid development of future monitoring efforts.