Fish Hosts for Freshwater Mussels

For a few brief weeks of a mussel’s life, it is a true parasite, taking from its host and giving nothing in return. “Some mussels live more than forty years,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Wendell Haag. Only the larvae, or glochidia, are parasitic. “The interesting thing about this host relationship is that different mussel…  More 

Freshwater Mussels in Kentucky

Kentucky, with its diverse natural environment, supports at least 100 native freshwater mussel species and subspecies. This number represents one-third of North American mussel diversity, and Kentucky, along with other southeastern states, supports the most diverse mussel fauna of any region on Earth. Unfortunately, this fauna is greatly diminished by human activities: about 12 mussel…  More 

Freshwater Mussels Play a Part in Restoring Their Own Habitat

In Kentucky, the U.S. Forest Service and state partners are on a mission to find out why streams such as Horse Lick Creek, a tributary of the Cumberland River basin, are no longer able to support freshwater mussels – and they’re using the mussels themselves to solve the mystery. North America is home to the…  More 

Fishing for Clues to Mussel Decline in Horse Lick Creek

How do U.S. Forest Service research scientists take their experiments from the laboratory to the field? For a first-hand look at the field sampling and data collection, collaboration with Forest Service and university partners, and extensive planning that happens behind the scenes, I spent a day with the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Center for…  More 

Bold Moves Needed to Save North America’s Freshwater Mussels

North America’s freshwater mussels are in grave danger of disappearing. Though there’s been progress in learning about freshwater mussel biology and effective techniques developed to propagate mussel species, conservation efforts should focus more directly on bold and aggressive habitat restoration, according to a recently published review paper by U.S. Forest Service researcher Wendell Haag. In…  More 

Driving OHVs through Streams

Millions of people enjoy nature while riding all-terrain vehicles, utility or recreational off-highway vehicles, or off-highway motorcycles. Collectively, these vehicles are called off-highway vehicles or OHVs, and in the southeastern U.S. – especially in Arkansas – much of this vehicle use occurs on U.S. Forest Service lands or other public lands. In Arkansas, increased off-highway…  More 

North American Freshwater Mussels

New Book Highlights Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation A new book by Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist Wendell Haag provides the first comprehensive view of the ecology and conservation of the approximately 300 species of North American freshwater mussels. Intended for resource managers, scientists, students, and those interested in natural history, North American Freshwater Mussels…  More