Freshwater mussels are a highly imperiled group of organisms. Understanding their demography and population dynamics is central to their conservation. We used mark-recapture techniques over a 5-year period to estimate the survival and population growth of two populations of Lampsilis radiata luteola in Ohio Brush Creek, Ohio, USA. Of particular interest was determining temporal variability in survivorship and if there were intermittent pulses in recruitment that could be capable of sustaining populations over the long term. We made 540 captures of 171 individuals at an upstream site and 104 captures of 55 individuals at a second, downstream site. Fitting mark recapture data to survival models indicated that the apparent survival rates of adults was best fit by a temporally constant parameter at both sites. At both sites apparent survival was low in comparison to published values for other freshwater mussels and estimates of survival for L. r. luteola. The yearly survival rate was higher for males (0.576; 95% C.I. 0.483–0.660) than for females (0.4851; 0.391–0.572) at the upstream site, but not at the downstream site (0.570; 0.415–0.699, estimate for sexes combined). Incorporating survival estimates into population growth models indicated that recruitment was low and relatively constant over the 5 y (2005–2009) for both populations. Size distribution data show similar, low recruitment. During this study both populations have been slowly declining in abundance due to high mortality and low recruitment.
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