Natural Resources Institute Aquatic Ecosystems
The freshwater mussel program of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Texas Water Resources Institute works to understand more about the population distribution, life history characteristics, and conservation status of Texas' freshwater mussels. Declining mussels serve as a possible barometer for the overall health of freshwater ecosystems, to which they contribute a number of important functions including filtration. Contact Dr. Charles Randklev for information about the freshwater mussel program at Dallas.orcid.org/0000-0002-6755-1507
Freshwater mussels in Texas
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.
Visit the freshwater mussel group's weebly site here.