Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) and Painter's mussel (Unio pictorum) were once frequent large mussel species in our waters. Today, the few remaining extant stocks in Germany are often heavily overaged due to lack of reproduction, isolated in their presence and therefore often genetically impoverished. Hence, large freshwater mussels are highly vulnerable and endangered species not only throughout Germany, but also around the world, and are therefore deemed as species of special national interest.

The project "ArKoNaVera - Implementation of regional protection measures and development of a new transregional species conservation concept for the National Responsibility Species: Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) and Painter's mussel (Unio pictorum) " develops concepts that will lead to a self-sustaining existence of these large bivalves. In this project, different partners from research and conservation cooperate on preserving current stocks and implementing measures to restore potential target waters
in the project areas in Bavaria and Saxony.

A core of the project is the offspring. Being part of a research team, I will be involved in developing new methods for the characterization of the food resources and dietary requirements of young mussels making use of lab and mesocosm experiments. Further, we will develop new population monitoring methods of large mussels and determine thresholds for biotic and abiotic criteria to define the ecological niche of juvenile and adult mussels. These data will be used for a decision support tool to be developed for the identification of suitable habitat waters in several pilot regions.

More detailed information on this joint project can be found at the
ArKoNaVera website: