A survey of native freshwater mussels (superfamily: Unionacea) and fishes (family: Cyprinidae, Salmonidae) at Kenauk
– André Martel, Noel Alfonso and Jacqueline Madill (Canadian Museum of Nature)
Freshwater mussels play vital ecological roles in river and lake ecosystems, including nutrient cycling, water filtration, substrate oxygenation and providing habitat. Freshwater mussels and fishes are linked in two significant ways: fish are an essential link in mussel life history and both groups face significant conservation pressures. Freshwater mussels are among the most threatened faunal groups globally, with nearly 30% of Canada’s species considered at risk. The main causes of the decline of both groups include habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, overexploitation, non-native species, and climate change. This project will survey Kenauk for mussel and fish species with an emphasis on the Eastern pearlshell recently discovered in the Kinonge River. We will also aim to determine whether brook trout are the host fish used by pearlshells for metamorphosis and dispersal.