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Title: “Does shear stress determine suitable habitat for juvenile freshwater mussels?”

Researcher: Sarah Glover, M.Sc. Candidate

Supervisor: Dr. Josef Ackerman, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph


The endangered wavyrayed lampmussel lives in the waters of the Speed and Grand Rivers adjacent to rare. Sarah is interested in the behaviour of juvenile population of this species, specifically how changes in stream flow shear stress affects their burrowing behaviour. Juvenile mussels will be placed in an artificial flow chamber and exposed to an apparatus that allows for a jet of water to travel along the wall of the flow chamber.

Shear stress will be mapped at differing flow velocities. Observations on when juvenile mussels adhere to the sediment, burrow into the sediment or are dislodged into the water column will be made.  The effects of changes in shear stress on the burrowing behaviour of the juveniles will be evaluated. Three different sediment types will also be used to create three substrata to assess whether juvenile mussels prefer one sediment type over another in terms of support for burrowing and stability during changing flows.  The project will help determine the conditions that support populations of juvenile mussels of this species in the field.