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Conservation status assessment and a new method for establishing conservation priorities for freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida) in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River drainage

Yang, Xue; Liu, Xiongjun; Ouyang, Shan; Zanatta, David T.; Lopes‐Lima, Manuel; Bogan, Arthur E.; Zieritz, Alexandra; Wu, Xiaoping

Authors

Xue Yang

Xiongjun Liu

Shan Ouyang

David T. Zanatta

Manuel Lopes‐Lima

Arthur E. Bogan

Alexandra Zieritz

Xiaoping Wu



Abstract

1. The freshwater mussel (Unionida) fauna of the Yangtze River is among the most diverse on Earth. In recent decades, human activities have caused habitat degradation in the river, and previous studies estimated that up to 80% of the mussel species in the Yangtze River are Threatened or Near Threatened with extinction. However, a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of the conservation status of this fauna has yet to be completed.
2. This study evaluated the conservation status of the 69 recognized freshwater mussel species in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, using the criteria published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A new method for prioritizing species for conservation was then developed and applied termed Quantitative Assessment of Species for Conservation Prioritization (QASCP), which prioritizes species according to quantifiable data on their distribution and population status, life history, and recovery importance and potential.
3. IUCN assessments showed that 35 (51%) species in the study region are Threatened or Near Threatened (11 Endangered, 20 Vulnerable, 4 Near Threatened). In addition, 16 species (23%) could not be assessed owing to data deficiency. Key threats to the freshwater mussel biodiversity of the Yangtze River include pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of access to host fish, and overharvesting of mussels and their host fish. The genera Aculamprotula, Gibbosula, Lamprotula, Pseudodon, Ptychorhynchus, and Solenaia were identified as particularly threatened.
4. Data availability allowed QASCP assessment of 44 species. Only Solenaia carinata, regionally Endangered under IUCN criteria, achieved the highest QASCP rank, i.e. First Priority. The five species assessed as Second Priority were considered either regionally Endangered (one), Vulnerable (three), or Data Deficient (one) under IUCN criteria. The 23 Third Priority species were assessed as regionally Endangered (two), Vulnerable (15), Near Threatened (two), or Least Concern (four).

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 13, 2020
Journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Print ISSN 1052-7613
Electronic ISSN 1099-0755
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Yang, X., Liu, X., Ouyang, S., Zanatta, D. T., Lopes‐Lima, M., Bogan, A. E., …Wu, X. (2020). Conservation status assessment and a new method for establishing conservation priorities for freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida) in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River drainage. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3298
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3298
Keywords Ecology; Aquatic Science; Nature and Landscape Conservation
Publisher URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aqc.3298
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Liu, X, Yang, X, Zanatta, DT, et al. Conservation status assessment and a new method for establishing conservation priorities for freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida) in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River drainage. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst. 2020; 1– 12, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3298. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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