Molecular methods for species determination of mussels and their larvae
Mussels are an important bio-indicator of water quality because they filter and purify large amounts of water.
Today we see a global reduction of Unionid mussel populations in fresh water, so even in Sweden. Most causes are derived from human activities such as dams and clearances, eutrophication, acidification and toxic spills. Mussels have a parasitic stage in their life cycle as glochidia larvae of roughly one millimetre in size, where they are attached on their host fish. During this stage the mussels get increased mobility and can spread over relatively large distances.
To be able to investigate mussel populations and the host fish preference, we develop molecular genetic methods for species identification of mussels and their larvae. Knowing this, we hope to be able to get an explanation for why the mussel populations seem to have poor regeneration.