Turning Data Acquired Into Information Desired Using Freshwater Mussel Projects in Illinois

Alison P. Stodola, Sarah A. Douglass, Jeremy S. Tiemann, Kirk W. Stodola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled organisms in the world, and many agencies are tasked with protecting the remaining populations. Managers are often required to make informed decisions based on metrics like population size, recruitment, or density, yet robust estimates of these values are difficult to attain, especially for large areas. We recently provided the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with a status update for 67 species for the Wildlife Action Plan and were faced with the common scenario of turning field data into meaningful information. We discuss the challenges associated with this update and ways we have attempted to counter these challenges, using several projects we have initiated in Illinois as demonstration. Specifically, we discuss the value of mark-recapture designs and other statistical modeling techniques that can be used to acknowledge and incorporate uncertainty into the population metrics managers use to make decisions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGreat Waters, Great Lands, Great Responsibilities: 76th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference, January 24-27, 2016, Grand Rapids Michigan
StatePublished - 2016


  • INHS


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