Journal archives for June 2021

June 09, 2021

Good news, bad news

As predicted, the Canaiad project has reached the milestone of 5,000 observations, thanks to the collective efforts of over 750 contributors, a number of freshwater mussel observers that just keeps on growing year after year..

Now for the bad news: 2021 seems to be the year us humans will slowly emerge from our pandemic crisis, but for mussels, a recurring environmental threat is well under way that is already causing important casualties among their ranks: drought. Water levels in Eastern Canada are clearly trending towards historical low levels, and have been very early on to boot, since the spring thaw. April and May have seen record low precipitations in many areas, and both the Saint-Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers are already at levels that would be considered low only by mid-summer. So unless the rains pick up, a great many mussels will perish, left high and dry on gently sloping shores as the water recedes faster than they can move toward deeper channels. Also, species that usually tend to inhabit deeper water will be more easily reached by their predators, namely muskrats, that will have an easier time diving to reach them.
But lemonade can be made with those beached lemons: this sort of somewhat depressing natural event is a opportunity to survey many sites that were otherwise inaccessible in prior years and record species that are usually harder to find. Case in point, even if it's still early June, a new locality of Alewife Floater has been found in the Upper Saint-Lawrence just last week, including young specimens that attest to recent recruitment, an extreme rarity in the Saint-Lawrence corridor for that species.

So happy hunting, and keep an eye out for those lemons...

Phil

Posted on June 09, 2021 12:07 PM by redgarter redgarter | 0 comments | Leave a comment