Unio crassus is an important component of river ecosystem as a filter feeder strongly influencing on water quality. This species has gone through decline due to several major threats including water pollution, sedimentation, increased predation by invasive mammals etc. This mussel is assessed as endanged in IUCN Red List due to losses across the range with population decline over last 50-60 years for more than 50%. There is very little known about its population status in Ukraine though. Also it is not included into the Red Book of Ukraine and does not recieve attention from conservation programs and organizations.
Ukraine is one of the least studied parts of Unio crassus range. In only few rivers thick shelled river mussel was found recently, while there are many potentially suitable habitats are still unknown to be inhabitat by this endangered mussel or not. Also population densities, ecological preferences and threats are unknown. Our aim is to observe rivers with sandy and sandy-rocky bottoms of Ukraine, develop map of the species distribution and assess population status and threats that causes population decline.
We also plan to work with comunities through workshops and education for school children and adults to enhance people awareness about the mussels importance and conservation of threatened species, their habitats and ecosystems in general.
Project 14259437 location - Ukraine, Europe