Thursday, August 11, 2011

Last Day of the Season...for Mussels

Today was probably my last field day this year for sampling Western Pearlshell mussels (WPM) for signs of gravidity. Sad! The flow is low and the mussels are burrowing deeper into the substrate, making it harder to find them. At this time of year, when you pull a WPM out of the substrate, they sometimes squirt you and sometimes make noises. Maybe a bit more stressful with less flow and warmer temperatures? Or just a habit of theirs. I guess I wouldn't be quiet if I was pulled out of my habitat either .

Two new people in our office came out to help me. Rachel and Doug. They will mostly be working with the lamprey crew, formally known as the non-salmonid team, for the rest of the summer. Anyway, neither one of them had done any mussel work so they were excited and ready to go. Freshwater mussels already fascinate me so their enthusiasm made it even more fun.

There are few people who come out with me who actually will sample the mussels. You see, in order to check for gravidity we must open the mussel up about a centimeter to inspect their gills. That's where the mussel broods its eggs. So when I asked them if they wanted to sample they delightedly said Yes. I sampled the first couple of transects and showed them what to do and they pretty much took over after that.

The weather could not have been better and the company was excellent. What a great day. Thanks Rachel and Doug. I hope you enjoy your time at the CRFPO.

For more mussel blogs check out mussel mania I posted Feb 2010 and mussel mania II posted in May 2010.

Submitted by Donna Allard

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