Canary in the coal mine – freshwater mussels

During laboratory tests, USGS scientists and partners found that the heart and growth rates of some species of young freshwater mussels declined as a result of elevated water temperatures, and many died.

Freshwater mussels have been compared to the “canary in the coal mine” in that they are indicators of good water and sediment quality in U.S. rivers.

They are also important in the aquatic food web, filter large amounts of water and suspended particles, and serve as food for other organisms. The study is published in the December issue of the journal Freshwater Science.
US Geological Survey, 3 Dec 2013