Characterization of freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) riverine habitat using River Habitat Survey data.

Mark Richard Young, Lee Hastie, Susan Cooksley, P. J. Boon, M. Gaywood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


1. The feasibility of using River Habitat Survey (RHS) data to describe freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) macrohabitat in the River Spey, north-east Scotland, was investigated.

2. Mussels were found to be positively associated with a number of RHS variables. These included: boulder/cobble river bed substrates, broken/unbroken standing waves (channel flow types), aquatic liverworts/mosses/lichens and broadleaf/mixed woodland/bankside tree cover. Negative associations with gravel-pebble/silt substrates and emergent reeds/sedges/herbs were also found.

3. Two binary logistic regression models, based on seven and four variables, respectively, were constructed in order to predict the presence/absence of mussels at any given site. Predictive success rates of 83% and 78% were achieved.

4. Another binary logistic regression model, based on four variables, was constructed in order to predict the occurrence of 'optimal' M. margaritifera habitat (overall mussel densities greater than or equal to1 m(-2)). A predictive success rate of 83% was achieved.

5. The results indicate two potentially important applications of RHS for the conservation management of M. margaritifera: (1) for monitoring the effects of physical changes on extant mussel beds (and predicting their effects on mussel populations), and (2) for determining the habitat suitability of historically occupied sites for re-introductions. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-224
Number of pages11
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • macrohabitat
  • distribution
  • conservation
  • freshwater pearl mussel
  • River Habitat Survey
  • L.


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