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

Virginia Project

Development of methods for conditioning and culture of endangered short-term brooding freshwater mussels

July 2006 - July 2010


Participating Agencies

  • USFWS Region 4

Population declines of short-term brooding (STB) mussels of the unionids subfamily Unioninae appear to be accelerating, especially in major tributaries in the upper Tennessee River basin. The most affected genera include Fusconaia, Lexingtonia, Pleurobema, and Quadrula, which include a total of 19 federally endangered species. Six of the listed species and a candidate occur in the upper Tennessee River basin. These species (Fursconaia cor, F. cuneolus, Pleurobema plenum, Quadrula cylindrica strigillata, Q. intermedia, Q. sparsa, and Lexingtonia dolabelloides) have displayed little recent recruitment and are becoming increasingly uncommon to extremely rare in the Holston, Powell, and Clinch watersheds of Virginia and Tennessee. The objectives of this research project are as follows: 1. To determine the effects of holding conditions and diets on levels of total carbohydrates and gametogenesis in two captive surrogate species (Q. quadrula and F. ebena). 2. To determine the effects of holding conditions and diets on growth and survival of juvenile F. cor, F. cuneolus, Q. c. strigillata, and/or L. dolabelloides.