Predicting habitat suitability for eleven imperiled fluvial freshwater mussels

Author(s):

Wesley M. Daniel, Arthur R. Cooper,  Peter J. Badra, Dana M. Infante

Journal or Book Title: Hydrobiologia

Keywords: Unionid mussels, Host fish richness, Habitat suitability, Conservation, MaxEnt, Michigan Intr

Volume/Issue: Online

Year Published: 2018

Abstract:

Understanding patterns in freshwater mussel distributions and habitat use, particularly for imperiled species, is critical for their conservation. To aid in management of imperiled mussels, and to demonstrate the utility using both landscape-based and biotic predictors in assessing species habitat suitability, we modeled 11 imperiled mussels in rivers of Michigan, USA. Models were developed with MaxEnt using a combination of host fish richness, natural abiotic reach variables, and landscape-based natural and anthropogenic variables. Because potential host fishes are important biological determinants of mussel distributions, fluvial host fish distributions (n = 37) were modeled and integrated as a predictor in mussel models. Key predictors determining habitat suitability for mussels included host fish richness, a strong positive predictor for 8 of 11 mussel species, stream discharge, urban land use, and upstream dam density. Models predicted 853 to 10,138 stream km of suitable habitat (1.1 to 13.6% of the state’s stream length) for the 11 mussel species, with 54 to 1,382 km (0.1 to 1.8%) being considered highly suitable habitat. Mapping of suitable habitats identified streams with available habitat for multiple listed species, allowing for more informed decisions in conservation planning and management of Michigan’s listed freshwater mussels and their fish hosts.

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3473-z

Type of Publication: Journal Article

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