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Genetic guidelines for captive breeding and propagation of species of at risk freshwater mussels

Via the Partnership Fund, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provided $138,961 over three years to support this species-at-risk research by Dr. David Zanatta. In the past decade, understanding of the genetic considerations for captive breeding of species-at-risk freshwater mussels, and knowledge of the genetic structure and diversity of mussels, has advanced considerably. This study is focused on attaining empirical data that are critical to guiding propagation efforts, by comparing the genetic diversity of wild a population to animals bred in captivity.

Genetic data will be analyzed and wild and captive bread populations will be compared. Two parallel papers on the results of the comparison of the genetic diversity of wild and captive bread populations will be written and submitted to a peer-review journal (e.g., Conservation Genetics). A follow-up paper making more broad inferences on genetic management guidelines for the captive propagation of mussels will also be written and submitted to a peer-review journal.

Project Number: CA2016.50
Year: 2017, 2018, 2019
Partner: Central Michigan University, Biology Department, Institute for Great Lakes Research
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. David Zanatta
Eco-region: Great Lakes

Six-month old Wavyrayed Lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) juveniles from the White Lake Fish Culture Station of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (photo credit Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry).
Six-month old Wavyrayed Lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) juveniles from the White Lake Fish Culture Station of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (photo credit Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry).

Six-month old Wavyrayed Lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) juveniles from the White Lake Fish Culture Station of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (photo credit Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry).

Under the microscope - counting Wavyrayed Lampmussel larvae (glochidia) used for propagation.

Under the microscope - counting Wavyrayed Lampmussel larvae (glochidia) used for propagation.

Smallmouth bass are host fish for Wavyrayed Lampmussel’s parasitic larvae (glochidia). Once the glochidia attach to the fish gills, we wait 5-6 weeks for the metamorphized juvenile mussels to drop off the fish.

Smallmouth bass are host fish for Wavyrayed Lampmussel’s parasitic larvae (glochidia). Once the glochidia attach to the fish gills, we wait 5-6 weeks for the metamorphized juvenile mussels to drop off the fish.

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