Title

Can a community save a species? Using community interactions to restore freshwater mussel species at risk in the Great Lakes

Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7466-0138 : Roland Eveleens

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3570-3588 : Dr Catherine Febria

Standing

Graduate (Masters)

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Safeguarding Healthy Great Lakes

Your Location

Great Lakes Institute of Environmental Research

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Catherine Febria

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Conservation and restoration efforts are critical in addressing current declines in global biodiversity. However, delays in species recovery suggest that restoration approaches must be improved. One likely avenue is the use of positive species interactions to support the recovery of desired species, such as species at risk. Within the Great Lakes, 14 of 35 unionid mussel species in Southern Ontario are federally listed as being at risk. Unionids interact with multiple trophic levels, including relying on fish hosts to transport glochidia during parasitic juvenile stages, feeding on algae and organic matter, and mediating resource availability for other filter-feeding macroinvertebrate species. The extent to which multi-trophic interactions are considered in unionid restoration remains unclear, and yet may be critical to the recovery of critical species. Thus, here we present a systematic review of global literature to ask how successful current restoration efforts are, and the extent to which unionid restoration is a community effort. Preliminary results suggest that efforts utilising community interactions are few but reveal some success. Holistic efforts that address both abiotic and biotic conditions during restoration are limited but show great promise for improving restoration success if coordination is possible at the spatial and temporal scales required.

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Can a community save a species? Using community interactions to restore freshwater mussel species at risk in the Great Lakes

Conservation and restoration efforts are critical in addressing current declines in global biodiversity. However, delays in species recovery suggest that restoration approaches must be improved. One likely avenue is the use of positive species interactions to support the recovery of desired species, such as species at risk. Within the Great Lakes, 14 of 35 unionid mussel species in Southern Ontario are federally listed as being at risk. Unionids interact with multiple trophic levels, including relying on fish hosts to transport glochidia during parasitic juvenile stages, feeding on algae and organic matter, and mediating resource availability for other filter-feeding macroinvertebrate species. The extent to which multi-trophic interactions are considered in unionid restoration remains unclear, and yet may be critical to the recovery of critical species. Thus, here we present a systematic review of global literature to ask how successful current restoration efforts are, and the extent to which unionid restoration is a community effort. Preliminary results suggest that efforts utilising community interactions are few but reveal some success. Holistic efforts that address both abiotic and biotic conditions during restoration are limited but show great promise for improving restoration success if coordination is possible at the spatial and temporal scales required.