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Article

Status of Freshwater Mussels (Unionidae) in the French Creek Watershed, USA at the Onset of Invasion by Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus

1
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
2
Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA 16335, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alessandro Bergamasco
Water 2021, 13(21), 3064; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213064
Received: 25 August 2021 / Revised: 9 October 2021 / Accepted: 31 October 2021 / Published: 2 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity and Functionality of Aquatic Ecosystems)
Freshwater mussels are an imperiled group of organisms that are vital to aquatic ecosystems. Services performed by freshwater mussels, coupled with their use for biomonitoring, make them an invaluable asset. Neogobius melanostomus (Round Goby), a recently introduced invasive species to the French Creek watershed, was once restricted to the watershed of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. The Round Goby’s propensity to consume Dreissena polymorpha (Zebra Mussel) and Dreissena bugensis (Quagga Mussel) in their native habitat raises concerns about this recent introduction into Pennsylvania’s Allegheny River watershed. Since the discovery of their introduction within the watershed, we have followed the range expansion and dispersal rate of Round Gobies, which makes this study unique. The objectives of this study were to quantify baseline data on the contemporary diversity and abundance of unionid mussels in the upper French Creek watershed, and to explore potential habitat factors that influence or limit the size of the mussel populations. We gathered baseline data on freshwater mussel diversity and abundances across eight sites in the French Creek watershed and examined substrate particle size and host availability as potential limiting factors of the freshwater mussel distribution. Freshwater mussel surveys were conducted during the summer months (July–September) of 2017 using area-constrained surveys. Results showed a significant relationship between mussel diversity and substrate particle size (p < 0.05). From the data collected, we were able to calculate population estimates for the species found across the sample sites. Our results regarding the locations of native mussel populations and characteristics of their habitat provide the needed insight for establishing priority areas for the conservation of freshwater mussels, facilitating planning for protection, mitigation, and adaptation as the invasive Round Goby continues its spread. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquatic invasive species; Round Goby; freshwater mussels; French Creek watershed aquatic invasive species; Round Goby; freshwater mussels; French Creek watershed
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MDPI and ACS Style

Clark, K.H.; Wisor, J.M.; Mueller, S.J.; Bradshaw-Wilson, C.; Boyer, E.W.; Stauffer, J.R., Jr. Status of Freshwater Mussels (Unionidae) in the French Creek Watershed, USA at the Onset of Invasion by Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus. Water 2021, 13, 3064. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213064

AMA Style

Clark KH, Wisor JM, Mueller SJ, Bradshaw-Wilson C, Boyer EW, Stauffer JR Jr. Status of Freshwater Mussels (Unionidae) in the French Creek Watershed, USA at the Onset of Invasion by Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus. Water. 2021; 13(21):3064. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213064

Chicago/Turabian Style

Clark, Kyle H., Joshua M. Wisor, Sara J. Mueller, Casey Bradshaw-Wilson, Elizabeth W. Boyer, and Jay R. Stauffer Jr. 2021. "Status of Freshwater Mussels (Unionidae) in the French Creek Watershed, USA at the Onset of Invasion by Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus" Water 13, no. 21: 3064. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213064

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