WAP Funding Request
Barry J, Wicklow, Ph. D.
Biology Department
Saint Anselm College
Manchester, NH  03012
Ecology and population dynamics of the brook floater mussel, Alasmidonta varicosa in the Suncook and Piscataquog Rivers
Brook floater populations have disappeared or declined precipitously in much of their distribution range. Very little is known about the ecology, life history, or population dynamics of this species. This proposal aims to 1) continue a brook floater relocation and mark-recapture study which began in 2006 in the Suncook River, Chichester, NH, 2) complete the 10th year of a quantitative, long-term brook floater study which began in 1996 in the Piscataquog River, Goffstown, NH, and 3) compare the habitat attributes at each site.
Relocation and mark-recapture study, Suncook River. Approximately 1200 brook floater mussels were rescued from a dewatered site after a storm-related avulsion created a new channel in the Suncook River, Epsom. The mussels were held temporarily at the USFWS National Fish Hatchery, Nashua, NH. Rescued mussels were double-tagged with numbered floy tags then relocated to two upstream sites in the Suncook River, Chichester, NH. The 10X40m relocation sites consist of 10 4X10m bands. One 10X40 reference site was also mapped. We then double-tagged 500 resident brook floater mussels (50-100 /band) from each of the 3 sites, then returned each mussel to the band where it was collected. Over 150 hours of volunteer time was logged. A total of nearly 3000 brook floaters were tagged.
Annual sampling using the mark-recapture protocol will allow us to calculate relative survival, recruitment, growth rates, and movement (Villella and Smith, 2006).  I plan to sample each site during the summer of 2007.
Long-term monitoring study, Piscataquog River. I used distance sampling  (Buckland et al. 1993, 2001; Strayer and Smith, 2003) to study a high density brook floater population before and after a bridge replacement (Henry Road Bridge) in the Piscataquog River, Goffstown, NH. The site has been quantitatively sampled in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2004. Between 1996 and 1999 the population density at this site declined from 0.4/m2 to 0.02/m2. Sampling planned in 2007 will provide data needed to complete the 10th year of this study.
Study significance: This is a remarkable opportunity to establish a long-term study of brook floater ecology and population dynamics that could address important population parameters such as survival, recruitment, growth rate, and movement as well as critical life history relationships, and habitat attributes. The comparison of habitat and population structure of brook floaters in the Suncook River and the Piscataquog River will help determine the causes for the serious decline of this species. 
Ecology and population dynamics of Alasmidonta varicosa
2007 Budget Estimate
Date  Days Volunteer Days   
April-May Suncook sampling: glochidial release period 10 10   
 as a function of temperature     
May Host fish collection and analysis 3 15   
July Suncook mark-recapture 8 32   
 Piscataquog 10th year sampling 5 15   
 Suncook Habitat analysis 2 4   
 Suncook Stream velocity profiles 2 8   
 Suncook, Piscataquog Water chemistry 1 2   
August Suncook Macroinvertebrate metrics 5 8   
August Data analysis 5 5   
December Report 4    
 Total Days  45 99   
 Funding Request     
Item  Amount    
Salary Rate: $68.75/ hr  ($550.00/day) $24,750     
Supplies Data loggers, analyte analysis $250     
Mileage  ($0.43/mi) (85mi) (23)  $841     
 Total Amount Requested $25,841