PREDICTING NATIVE UNIONID DISTRIBUTIONS ACROSS INDIANA, USA, USING AN ENSEMBLE MODELING APPROACH
Despite their critical contributions to stream ecosystem health, freshwater mussels (Unionidae) are one of the most globally imperiled groups of aquatic organisms. The state of Indiana historically supported a rich unionid assemblage, which has suffered declines in abundance and diversity likely due to stressors such as pollution, loss of fish host species, and habitat degradation and fragmentation. However, for many of Indiana’s unionid species, specific drivers of declines have not yet been identified. To this end, we are developing species-specific ensembles of models that link recent Indiana mussel distributions (presence and relative abundance) to environmental and habitat characteristics. By developing models using multiple approaches (e.g., recursive partitioning, generalized linear modeling), we aim to take advantage of differential strengths and overcome biases associated with any single modeling approach. We will evaluate site capacity to support species of interest by averaging and ranking model residuals. Ultimately, this ranking and evaluation process will be used to identify and prioritize sites for conservation and management actions, including focused habitat protection and potential reintroductions.
Susanna LaGory (Primary Presenter/Author), Purdue University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Brant Fisher (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife, BFisher@dnr.IN.gov;
Tomas Hook (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Purdue University & Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program, email@example.com;
Carolyn Foley (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Purdue University & Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program, firstname.lastname@example.org;