Freshwater mussels are indicators of water quality and the health of river ecosystems. The greater the number of mussel species present, the greater the biodiversity and the healthier the ecosystem. Unfortunately, freshwater mussels are the most endangered organisms in Illinois.
In partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Shedd conducts mussel field surveys, systematically sampling the state’s major river systems. From these surveys, researchers can identify long-term changes in the condition of the state’s rivers and streams and develop conservation programs for mussels and their habitats.