Anthony, J. L. Iowa State University, janthony@iastate.edu
Downing, J. L. Iowa State University, downing@iastate.edu

 
EXTREME LONGEVITY IN FRESHWATER MUSSELS (FAMILY UNIONIDAE) INFERRED FROM MARK-RECAPTURE GROWTH DATA
 
North American freshwater mussels (Family Unionidae) are currently one of the world's most imperiled groups of organisms. They are the foundation of the cultured-pearl industry and their implications for water quality and aquatic communities are extensive. Management and recovery plans necessary to ensure the continued existence of these declining species must rely upon an intimate knowledge of their growth rates and longevity. Current methods for age and growth determination in freshwater mussels are insufficient, often resulting in variable or erroneous conclusions. We collected growth data through mark-recovery efforts in Minnesota and Québec, examining some of the most common species of mussels. We used an inversion of the von Bertalanffy equation to estimate age at length from length specific growth relationships. Results have shown that freshwater mussel populations may grow at much slower rates than previously predicted. Individuals apparently reach ages in excess of a century, placing Unionid mussels among the oldest living organisms on Earth.
 
Day: Wednesday, Feb. 3
Time: 03:45 - 04:00pm
Location: Eldorado Hotel
 
Code: SS18WE0345E