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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 735, Issue 1, pp 123–136 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal distribution patterns of three stream-dwelling freshwater mussel species: towards a strategy for representative surveys

  • Alexandra Zieritz
  • Juergen Geist
  • Bernhard Gum
FRESHWATER BIVALVES

Abstract

Conservation efforts for freshwater mussels (Unionoida) require a priori assessments of their populations’ status quo. Unfortunately, collection of representative census and other data for most European species is currently hampered by an insufficient understanding of inter- and intra-specific variation in distribution patterns. We assessed distribution and movement in three Unio crassus populations and one sympatric population of Anodonta anatina and Unio pictorum, respectively. We surveyed vertical movement across four sediment depths, and horizontal movement by mark-recapture technique in 3-month intervals. For all the populations, movement and the proportion inhabiting surface layers increased considerably from winter to spring/summer. Spatial aggregation levels remained stable for some populations, while others became increasingly randomly distributed during the study. One U. crassus population exhibited elevated mortality and displayed movement rates exceeding twice those of conspecific populations. The visible proportion of U. crassus populations differed by up to 69% between sites. Current monitoring guidelines in Europe often insufficiently account for the extensive inter- and intra-specific differences in spatio-temporal distribution patterns observed. We suggest developing internationally standardised protocols that specify sampling season and methodology. In particular, U. crassus surveys should be restricted to summer months, and hand-sampling is crucial for some populations.

Keywords

Burrowing behaviour MARK analysis Monitoring Movement behaviour Population survey Unionidae 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank S. Lois, M. Hoppe, F. Bauer, H. Schneider, J. Brandner, S. Beggel and V. Huber for fieldwork assistance. Governmental, nature conservation, and fisheries authorities (in particular K. Neugebauer) kindly provided support and licences required for this study. A. Z. was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The project was financially supported by the ‘Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt’ (LfU).

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Zieritz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Juergen Geist
    • 1
  • Bernhard Gum
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Aquatic Systems Biology Unit, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem ManagementTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  2. 2.Fachberatung für FischereiBezirk OberbayernHaarGermany
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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