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

Virginia Project

Development of methods for cryopreservation of gametes and glochidia of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionae)

September 2007 - August 2010


Participating Agencies

  • USFWS Region 4

Cryopreservation of the gametes and larvae of critically endangered mussels has been identified as an important goal of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Freshwater Mussels. The ability to obtain genetic material for several of these species is waning, and cryopreservation of gametes and/or glochidia, to be available for future technological developments, poses the last hope for prevention of permanent extinction. This project will test previously developed techniques for oysters and other invertebrates, to determine applicability for freshwater mussels. The specific objectives of this project are as follows: 1. to determine the osmolality of the reproductive fluids in the gonad of Q. quadrula, and the effect of osmotic pressure on sperm motility. 2. to determine the effects of four cryopreservation variables on sperm post-thaw sperm motility and fertilization rate of Q quadrula. 3. to determine the effects of four cryopreservation variables on oocyte post-thaw fertilization rate of Q quadrula.