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The Role of Hydrodynamic Habitat in the Feeding Ecology of Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae)

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Title: The Role of Hydrodynamic Habitat in the Feeding Ecology of Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae)
Author: Vanden Byllaardt, Julie
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Ackerman, Josef
Abstract: I examined the suspension feeding of four freshwater unionid mussels, Elliptio complanata, Elliptio dilatata, Fusconaia flava and Strophitus undulatus to help explain how more than 30 species can coexist in a single river, as well as to contribute new insights into their basic biology. I examined whether the flux of algae affected the suspension feeding (clearance rate, CR) of unionids in a flow chamber. CR varied with seston flux (J = UC, where U is the velocity and C is the algal concentration) for the 4 species examined. The lotic species (E. dilatata) cleared up to four times more water than lentic species (E. complanata). Differences in CRs were found among E. dilatata, F. flava, and S. undulatus from the same hydrodynamic habitat at the highest flux tested; the CR of E. dilatata varied with the hydrodynamics of its native river. These results provide new insight into how seston flux influences unionid suspension feeding, which may help to explain niche breadth in this group.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3137
Date: 2011


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