FORECASTING THE GLOBAL CONSERVATION STATUS OF FRESHWATER MUSSELS
Unionid mussels are globally threatened, but data are lacking on species’ status for many countries. We used country-level ecological, economic, and social data from the UN and World Bank, and IUCN species’ conservation status to develop a statistical model predicting the percentage of threatened species for 102 countries. Using best subsets regression, we found fisheries exploitation, freshwater quantity and quality, percentage of urban population, forest cover loss, and income level explained the proportion of a country’s mussel fauna that was likely threatened (R2=0.67, p<0.05). On average 22% of mussel species in any given country are likely threatened. Countries with a predicted number of threatened species lower than observed tended to have implemented habitat and water quality policies, which may indicate improving conditions and opportunities for restoration. Countries with a higher predicted number of threatened species than observed tended to be characterized by ongoing environmental degradation, indicating worsening conditions and need for further assessment of species status or protective actions. Importantly, for countries where reliable conservation data do not exist, our model offers predictions for the number of species that may be endangered and where research efforts may be needed.
Caryn C. Vaughn (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Oklahoma, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Noé Ferreira-Rodriguez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Universidade de Vigo, email@example.com;
Thomas Parr (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Oklahoma, Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org;