Aquatic Ecosystems: Freshwater Mussel Research

Seeking conservative solutions for Texas’ freshwater mussel population

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A Program of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute

Addressing declines in biodiversity

The mussel team’s research takes place as freshwater ecosystems experience a far greater biodiversity decline than what is seen in most other affected terrestrial ecosystems.

Declines have been especially severe for certain groups of aquatic biota including freshwater mussels, Unionidae, which are now considered the most imperiled of all aquatic fauna. Of the 300 mussel species known to have occurred in the United States, 12 percent are thought to be extinct; 23 percent are considered threatened or endangered.

Meanwhile, across Texas, distribution and abundance declines have led to the listing of 15 species —roughly 29 percent of Texas’ 52 described species — as “threatened” at the state level. Of those, 12 species are either candidates for listing under the national Endangered Species Act (ESA) or are still being considered for protection under the ESA.



The need for data Geographic patterns of mussel species distributions, combined with information on the factors that contributed to their endangerment, are necessary for developing effective conservation strategies. For freshwater mussels,…

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Mussel Research Group

Dr. Charles Randklev

Research Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator

Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute


A full selection of Dr. Randklev’s publications is available at TAMU Scholars along with information about researchers and peer-reviewed publications across The Texas A&M University System.

Dorothea Mildenberger

Graduate Assistant

Anna Eismont

Graduate Assistant

Dom Olesen

Graduate Assistant

Video: Freshwater Mussel Research

Freshwater Mussels are good indicators of ecological health. Our freshwater mussel research program explores declining mussel populations in Texas to provide critical information on preserving river ecosystems as Texans depend on river water resources.