John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The effects of salinity exposure on multiple life stages of a common freshwater mussel, Elliptio complanata

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There is growing concern over the effects of increased salinization on freshwater organisms, which are largely unknown for unionid mussels. Adult and larval Elliptio complanata were exposed to low level salt concentrations to determine the effects on mussel survival, physiology, and reproduction. Adults were exposed to salt concentrations of 0, 2, 4, and 6 ppt NaCl and monitored over 7 days for mortality. Treatment groups exposed to 6 and 4 ppt experienced 50% mortality at days 3 and 4 respectively with complete mortality by day 7. No mortality was observed in the other treatments. Adults were also exposed to sublethal salinity levels of 1 ppt and 2 ppt NaCl for 4 weeks to determine physiological consequences of prolonged salinity exposure. Mussels exposed to 1 and 2 ppt experienced reduced metabolic rates within the first 24 hours of exposure that recovered to control levels in the 1 ppt treatment within 7 days. Metabolic recovery did not occur in the 2 ppt treatment by the end of 28 days. Glochidia exposed to 3 ppt NaCl during attachment to their host fish suffered a reduction in attachment success and metamorphosis, resulting in a 10‐fold reduction in the number of juveniles produced per host fish. This study demonstrates that low levels of salt can have a dramatic effect on the reproduction, physiology, and survival of freshwater mussels. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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