Microhabitat and biology of Sphaerium striatinum in a Central New York stream

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Abstract

In many lotic systems, drastic declines in freshwater bivalve populations, including fingernail clams (Sphaeriidae), have created concerns about biodiversity and future ecosystem services. We examined the local occurrence of the historically common fingernail clam, Sphaerium striatinum, in a central New York stream. We sampled the density of sphaeriids and measured the associated habitat variables (substrate, depth, water flow) to test within-stream multivariate benthic microhabitat association. Size distribution, density, and diel feeding periodicity were measured as focal aspects of fingernail clam biology and ecology. S. striatinum tended to be found in microhabitats that had harder substrates and faster flow. The Labrador Creek fingernail clam local population had positive indicators (size distribution, density). There was significant diel periodicity in feeding behavior. The clams fed most actively during the 0400–0800 h periods. This kind of behavioral periodicity can indicate a significant ecological interaction between predators and bivalve prey. Increased understanding of the behavioral ecology of small native freshwater bivalves in an unimpacted headwater stream is a fundamental building block for development of overall ecological conservation goals for freshwater bivalves and their lotic habitats.

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Dittman, D. E., Johnson, J. H., & Nack, C. C. (2018). Microhabitat and biology of Sphaerium striatinum in a Central New York stream. Hydrobiologia, 810(1), 367–374. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-017-3177-4

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