Five Reasons to Love Mussels

Freshwater Mussels are some of the world’s most fascinating and underappreciated animals. Mussels are widely used as bioindicators to monitor the health of aquatic environments, in both freshwater and marine environments. They improve water quality by filtering out bacteria, algae and pollutants.

Here are five reasons you should LOVE mussels.

1. Water Purifiers – They are rivers’ natural filters. A single adult mussel can clean more than 10 gallons of water a day.

2. Architects – Mussel beds, an accumulation of mussels in one area, stabilize riverbanks and prevent erosion. Also, mussel shells provide living space for insects and plants, and empty shells serve as nesting sites for small fish like darters.

3. Storytellers – They are among the longest-lived invertebrates, surviving as long as 100 years. They can tell us a lot about the past conditions of their environment as well as provide future monitoring suggestions.

4. Professional Chefs – Mussel poop! Mussels excrete nutrients that nourish aquatic invertebrates at the base of the food chain.

5. Safe Haven – Research has shown that fish caught in drying pools along with freshwater mussels survive longer, likely because of the other organisms supported by mussels that fish can eat. This is especially important as drought conditions increase due to climate change.

>>> Learn more about our Mussels in the Classroom program

>>> Support ORF – Adopt a Mussel!



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