Freshwater mussels have the some of the highest rates of extinction of all freshwater organisms in the world. In Texas, 15 species are listed as state threatened, while 12 are pending review for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Freshwater mussels play important roles in ecosystem maintenance through nutrient cycling, stabilizing stream-bed substrates and increasing habitat diversity. Population declines can have significant impacts to an ecosystem’s structure and function.

In Texas, the lack of basic biological information on freshwater mussels, such as life history, taxonomy, reproductive biology and habitat, use limits conservation and recovery efforts. Since 2011, NRI’s freshwater mussel research program has provided information on mussel taxonomy, population distribution and ranges, and other science-based knowledge and solutions for state and federal natural resource agencies.

The centerpiece of our program is a 2,000-square-foot wet lab located at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas. Current research efforts include studies on:

  • mussel reproductive biology,
  • thermal and salinity tolerances, and
  • molecular analyses to name a few.

Current research efforts include studies on mussel reproductive biology, thermal and salinity tolerances, and molecular analyses, to name a few. Data from these projects will help inform listing efforts, protect rare mussel species and promote aquatic ecosystem conservation.

Charles Randklev

As a research scientist for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute sin, Dr. Charles Randklev works on issues related to freshwater mussel conservation. His research expertise is unionid ecology with research interests …

Ken Inoue

Dr. Kentaro Inoue is an assistant research scientist at the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute. Kentaro is an evolutionary and conservation biologist with a passion for freshwater molluscs (mussels and snails) and crus…

Michael Hart

Michael Hart is a research associate, laboratory manager and freshwater mussel ecologist with the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute mussel research group. His current research focuses on understanding the effect of en…


    Mussels Matter: Research team increasing knowledge of mussels, txH2O

    Though zebra mussels in Texas give mussels a bad name, other freshwater mussels are welcomed and needed in Texas waters.

    Invasive zebra mussels, first confirmed in Texas in 2009, are causing major economic and environmental damages to Texas reservoirs. But unionid mussels, a family of freshwater mussels, are important indicators of water quality and stream health and play an important role in freshwater ecosystems, according to Dr. Charles Randklev, research scientist for the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR).

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