Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Environmental Science and Biology
Contemporary baseline data such as species presence, distribution, abundance, size-class structure, species-habitat relationships, and host species distributions are needed for monitoring the status and health of freshwater mussel communities in Honeoye Creek and other watersheds in New York State in the future. Quantitative surveys were performed at 20 sampling sites to assess the status of freshwater mussels in Honeoye Creek. Fifteen species were observed throughout the creek, with the highest diversity of nine species at two sites. Mussel abundance ranged from 0 to 3.15 mussels/m2. Recent recruitment was observed in five species, including Fusonaia flava, Lampsilis cardium, Lampsilis siliquoidea, Strophitus undulatus, and Villosa iris. Physical and chemical habitat parameters were assessed at each of the 20 sites sampled for mussels. Instream cover, embeddedness, velocity/depth regime, and frequency of riffles were positively correlated to mussel density. Discriminant analysis produced a single function positively correlated with instream cover and velocity/ depth regime. The analysis was able to correctly classify 95% of sites based on presence/ absence of freshwater mussels. A survey of host fishes provided additional data regarding the reproductive potential of freshwater mussels. Twenty seven fish species, including 19 known mussel hosts, were caught during the surveys. Host fishes were not collected for 2 Leptodea fragilis, Potamilus alatus, and Truncilla truncata, a finding consistent with the low abundances of these three species in Honeoye Creek. While these data provide a base-line for freshwater mussel diversity, abundance and distribution, additional research is needed to monitor the status and health of freshwater mussel communities in Honeoye Creek. Future research will help identify trends in population health and target sites where management and conservation measures are needed.
Cornish, Robert William, "A Quantitative Survey of the Freshwater Mussel (Unionidae) Fauna in Honeoye Creek, New York" (2014). Environmental Science and Ecology Theses. 95.