Does the freshwater pearl mussel, Margaritifera margaritifera L., face extinction in Northern Ireland?

C. Beasley, David Roberts, T. Mackie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


1. Until recently the status of Margaritifera margaritifera L. in Northern Ireland was not well documented. This paper presents the results of field surveys conducted in 1990/'91 and in 1996 at over 200 sites covering all major river systems in Northern Ireland. 2.Margaritifera populations in Northern Ireland were recorded at just 20 sites mainly located in the west of the province. Formerly many rivers supported vast numbers of mussels but anecdotal evidence points to periods of major declines in mussel populations since the turn of the century. 3. The absence of mussels smaller than 30 mm in length at most sites suggests very little or no recruitment during the past decade. During the surveys, deteriorating water quality, habitat disturbance and pearl fishing were recorded and are the major causes of the decline of the freshwater pearl mussel in Northern Ireland. 4. Unless the above problems are alleviated in the very near future, M.margaritifera will probably become extinct in Northern Ireland. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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  • Impacts

    Saving Freshwater Pearl Mussels from Extinction through Captive Breeding

    David Roberts (Participant), Sarah Preston (Participant), Conor Wilson (Participant), Neil Reid (Participant), Gemma Beatty (Participant), Jim Provan (Participant) & Caroline Bradley (Participant)

    Impact: Environmental Impact, Economic Impact

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