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Habitat degredation and sedimentation have contributed to the decline of native freshwater bivalves. Their health and nutrition is dependent on the availability of food resoures and the ingestion of algae, detritis, and bacteria from the water column. However, little is known of their nutritional requirements and the role microbial communities play in mussel nutrition and the overall health of freshwater aquatic communities.  Identification of stream bacterial communities has been limited by convential culture-dependent microbial methods. Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis produces reproducible results from spatially relevant environmental samples. The AECL is exploring the use of T-RFLP, and 16s RNA sequenceing to characterize microbial community structure in stream sediments and bivalve gastrointestinal tracts.  On-going studies focus on how land-use adjacent to freshwater habitats may effect microbial diversity and freshwater mussel nutrition and health.


Aquatic Epidemiology Conservation Laboratory