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200707800 - Characterizing the Geographic Distribution of Freshwater Mussels in the Columbia Basin Using Museum Collection Data

Sponsor: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)

Budgets: FY07: $30,500 | FY08: $8,200 | FY09: $0

Short description: All available collection records will be examined for accuracy, species identifications will be checked, and location and date of collection will be recorded. Species occurrence data will be plotted in a GIS and made available online.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Response requested

Comment:

The goal of this project is to establish mussel distributions based on museum collections. This work would help determine if the Basin has lost some species. If the quality of the collection is good enough, they could get useful information on biodiversity and distribution. However, the background statement does not adequately describe what is currently known. For example, there is an incomplete discussion of the Nedeau et al. (2005) report in freshwater mussels of the Pacific Northwest. There should have been a description of the subbasins where mussel distribution and species composition data are sparse or lacking. Additionally, there was no mention of specifically which museums contained mussel collections or the adequacy of those collections. In addition, this proposal does not make a convincing case that mussel sample libraries would be adequate from the Northwest alone to provide greater understanding of the present and historical distribution of freshwater mussels in the Columbia River Basin. If this exercise was completed, the proposers should evaluate samples from early survey work in museums nationwide -- Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Berkeley and San Francisco, etc. They would need to contact all major museums in the US and ask about mussels in the Columbia River system (a broadcast query to likely over a 100 museums). Mussel specialists in federal agencies such as the USGS should be contacted. Also, does evidence exist from initial inquiries that the historical distribution (as described) is incomplete or specimens misidentified, and that additional data are available for use? This is an important question because most early museum researchers were quite thorough. Also, more rigor is needed in describing the methods for proper species identification and no provision was made for ground-truthing the museum records. Is this work designed to fill gaps in the 2005 report on freshwater mussels of the Pacific Northwest. If so, they should explain the gaps/problems in the report and justify this project.

State/province recommendation: MS: Recommended Action

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: This project would sample museum collections to begin creating distribution estimates.