Empirical approaches to the conservation of Margaritifera Margaritifera

  • Conor Wilson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Freshwater pearl mussel (.Margaritifera margaritifera (L)) population declines began due to changes in land use, namely agricultural intensification, as well as overexploitation. Analysis of recorded distribution data within the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland showed that the Freshwater pearl mussel range contracted dramatically during the mid 20th century into core areas, however, not at an equal rate within each region. This species could become extinct in the wild in Northern Ireland. Wales and Scotland within 200 years.
Microsatellite analysis of the patterns of genetic diversity highlighted three conservation units across the six pearl mussel rivers in Northern Ireland caused by the complex post-glacial recolonization of northern regions from potential southern refugia.
Predictive species distribution modelling indicate several landscape scale variable correlated with freshwater pearl mussel presence across Northern Ireland Soil composition and altitude may have a role in explaining the distribution of freshwater pearl mussels, as well as local habitat composition such as flow and bankside tree cover.
Handling and attaching Passive Integrated Transponder tag to captive-bred freshwater mussels used in translocation studies may incur energetic costs through reduced short term activity and the increased effort required to re-burrow into the substrate
Captive-bred Freshwater pearl mussels released into the wild and monitored for 18months validates captive breeding and release sa a conservation strategy for freshwater bivalves. . Moreover, there was no evidence to support that recuperation after attaching Passive Integrated Transponder tags benefited release success
Date of AwardJul 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDai Roberts (Supervisor) & Jim Provan (Supervisor)

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