Effects of environmentally relevant mixtures of major ions on a freshwater mussel

Serena Ciparis, Andrew Phipps, David J. Soucek, Carl E. Zipper, Jess W. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Clinch and Powell Rivers (Virginia, USA) support diverse mussel assemblages. Extensive coal mining occurs in both watersheds. In large reaches of both rivers, major ion concentrations are elevated and mussels have been extirpated or are declining. We conducted a laboratory study to assess major ion effects on growth and survival of juvenile Villosa iris. Mussels were exposed to pond water and diluted pond water with environmentally relevant major ion mixtures for 55 days. Two treatments were tested to mimic low-flow concentrations of Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42-, HCO3 +, K+ and Cl- in the Clinch and Powell Rivers, total ion concentrations of 419 mg/L and 942 mg/L, respectively. Mussel survival (>90%) and growth in the two treatments showed little variation, and were not significantly different than in diluted pond water (control). Results suggest that major ion chronic toxicity is not the primary cause for mussel declines in the Clinch and Powell Rivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Appalachian
  • Bivalve
  • Conductivity
  • Mining
  • Unionidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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