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Captive breeding of European freshwater mussels as a conservation tool: A review
Technical University of Munich, Germany.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7698-3443
Fondation Hëllef fir d'Natur/natur & ëmwelt, Luxembourg.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8137-3877
Freshwater Biol Assoc, YMCA North Campus, Newby Bridge, England..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9751-8505
Technical University of Munich, Germany.
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2023 (English)In: Aquatic conservation, ISSN 1052-7613, E-ISSN 1099-0755, Vol. 33, no 11, p. 1321-1359Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Freshwater mussels are declining throughout their range. Their important ecological functions along with insufficient levels of natural recruitment have prompted captive breeding for population augmentation and questions about the usefulness and applicability of such measures. This article reviews the current state of captive breeding and rearing programmes for freshwater mussels in Europe. It considers the various species, strategies, and techniques of propagation, as well as the different levels of effort required according to rearing method, highlighting the key factors of success. Within the last 30 years, 46 breeding activities in 16 European countries have been reported, mainly of Margaritifera margaritifera and Unio crassus. Some facilities propagate species that are in a very critical situation, such as Pseudunio auricularius, Unio mancus, and Unio ravoisieri, or multiple species concurrently. In some streams, the number of released captive-bred mussels already exceeds the size of the remaining natural population. Rearing efforts range from highly intensive laboratory incubation to lower intensity methods using in-river mussel cages or silos. Most breeding efforts are funded by national and EU LIFE(+) grants, are well documented, and consider the genetic integrity of the propagated mussels. Limited long-term funding perspectives, the availability of experienced staff, water quality, and feeding/survival during early life stages are seen as the most important challenges. Successful captive breeding programmes need to be combined with restoration of the habitats into which the mussels are released. This work will benefit from an evidence-based approach, knowledge exchange among facilities, and an overall breeding strategy comprising multiple countries and conservation units.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2023. Vol. 33, no 11, p. 1321-1359
Keywords [en]
aquaculture, captive breeding, conservation translocation, freshwater mussel culturing, Margaritifera margaritifera, propagation, reintroduction, Unio crassus
National Category
Ecology Zoology Fish and Aquacultural Science
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97093DOI: 10.1002/aqc.4018ISI: 001073083600001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85171757350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-97093DiVA, id: diva2:1806165
Available from: 2023-10-19 Created: 2023-10-19 Last updated: 2024-02-06Bibliographically approved

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Österling, MartinSchneider, Lea D.

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