Skip to Main Content
High suspended solids as a factor in reproductive failure of a freshwater musselAuthor(s): Andrew M. Gascho-Landis; Wendell R. Haag; James A. Stoeckel
Source: Freshwater Science 32:(1)70-81.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (582.39 KB)
DescriptionElevated suspended solids are a widespread stressor of aquatic ecosystems, but their effects on growth and reproduction in freshwater mussels are largely unknown. We fertilized experimental ponds to create a gradient in total suspended solids (TSS) and examined the effects of TSS on growth, nutritional status, reproduction, and clearance rate in Ligumia subrostrata. The number of females that became gravid declined sharply with increasing TSS, and no gravid females were found in the highest TSS treatments. The proportion of gravid females was not related to the TSS organic:inorganic ratio. Fertilization was an all-ornothing phenomenon. In all females that did become gravid, 98 to 99% of eggs were fertilized regardless of TSS, and total fecundity was unrelated to TSS. Clearance rates declined sharply as TSS increased but showed a threshold relationship in which clearance was uniformly low at TSS . ,8 mg/L. Reproductive failure probably was not caused by poor body condition or nutritional status because growth (length and mass) and energetic status (measured as caloric density) were not related to TSS. We propose 2 mechanisms that implicate interference of TSS with fertilization as the cause of reproductive failure. Reduced clearance rate could decrease the chance of females encountering suspended sperm during filter feeding, or an increase in pseudofeces production could bind sperm in mucus and lead to its egestion before fertilization. Interruption of fertilization coincident with high TSS is a potential mechanism to explain the lack of mussel recruitment in many locations. Monitoring and reduction of TSS, especially during the spawning season, may help create conditions necessary for maintenance and recovery of mussel populations. More research is needed to explore the generality of this pattern across a broad range of mussel species including those adapted to lotic environments or that use different brooding strategies.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationGascho-Landis, Andrew M.; Haag, Wendell R.; Stoeckel, James A. 2013. High suspended solids as a factor in reproductive failure of a freshwater mussel. Freshwater Science 32:(1)70-81.
KeywordsLigumia subrostrata, eutrophication, total suspended solids, fertilization, reproduction, freshwater mussel, Unionidae
- Egg fertilisation in a freshwater mussel: effects of distance, flow and male density
- Effects of temperature and photoperiod on lure display and glochidial release in a freshwater mussel
- Mantle displays of freshwater mussels elicit attacks from fish
XML: View XML