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Counting Juvenile Mussels

Detailed Description

Scientists at the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center view young freshwater mussels through miscroscopes. During laboratory tests, USGS scientists and partners found that the heart and growth rates of some species of young freshwater mussels declined as a result of elevated water temperatures, and many died.

Freshwater mussels have been compared to the "canary in the coal mine" in that they are indicators of good water and sediment quality in U.S. rivers. They are also important in the aquatic food web, filter large amounts of water and suspended particles, and serve as food for other organisms.


Public Domain.