Please join the Biology Department and Great Lakes Center for their next seminar titled “Using physical ecology to understand the complexity of freshwater mussels: Mass transfer relationships," presented by Josef Ackerman, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph.
Abstract:Unionid mussels are relatively sedentary on the bottom of lakes and rivers except for their early-life history that involves the broadcasting of sperm and parasitic glochidia larvae, large-scale dispersal via a host fish and local dispersal in the water column of juvenile mussels after excystment from their hosts. The fluid environment is responsible for essential biological processes including the delivery of food resources and juveniles to the benthos as well as the removal of sperm and wastes. Consequently, an understanding of the hydrodynamics of mass transfer in aquatic habitats should provide insight into the physical ecology of unionid mussels. I will highlight several examples of key transport processes that facilitate the physical ecology of important life history functions (e.g., larval and juvenile dispersal, and the suspension feeding of benthic mussels under flowing conditions). In many cases, hydrodynamics provide important insights into these processes, but biology may modify the outcome because of behaviour. Regardless, our current theoretical predictions are often limited in value because they fail to capture behavior and the important role of hydrodynamic mass transfer in mussel biology -- i.e. the valuable insights into the understand the complexity of freshwater mussels provided by a physical ecology approach.
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