Brighter outlook for depressed mussel


20-06-2001

The future was looking a little brighter for the endangered Depressed River Mussel yesterday (Tuesday).

Now counted as one of Britain's rarest animals, the mussel has suffered a 30 per cent drop in its population in the last 100 years.



Conservationists were so worried about the Depressed Mussel's future the Government has made the species a conservation priority.



A revival could be on the way now that scientists at the University of Cambridge have succeeded in rearing juvenile mussels in the laboratory.



They hope the techniques will mean stocks of the Depressed River Mussel will be replenished in Britain's rivers.



Zoologist Anna McIvor said: 'Rearing these mussels is not a straightforward process. In the wild, almost all of the larvae would perish because of high levels of pollution, or they would be eaten by fish.'



Saving the mussel is considered important by ecologists because they filter algae from the water, making it lighter and cleaner.

 

The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

University of Cambridge (cam.ac.uk)