Advanced Topics in Conservation Genetics Webinar Series

Advanced Topics in Conservation Genetics

These webinars provide biologist and managers with the latest techniques in conservation genetics.

This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent FWS policy or constitute endorsement by FWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use.  Mention of any product names, companies, Web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.


June - November 2014


Date: December 10th, 2014
Time: 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Population Structure, Multiple Paternity, and Long-Distance Transport of Spermatozoa in the Freshwater Mussel Lampsilis Cardium

Captioning: Captioning services will be available for this webinar.
Archive: If you are unable to attend this webinar, it will be recorded and posted to the Advanced Topics in Conservation Genetics Webinar Series Archive approximately 1-2 weeks after the presentation.

Dr. Chad Ferguson, Ohio EPA and Dr. Michael Blum, Tulane University.

Description: Freshwater mussels (Bivalvia:Unionidae) are among the most imperiled organisms in North America. Information on the spatial scale of
reproduction and population connectivity will better enable mussel conservation programs to sustain freshwater muselh space=long-term population viability, particularly restocking and recovery programs. Here we used genetic methods to characterize population structure, dispersal potential, and reproductive strategies in the freshwater mussel Lampsilis cardium from Twin Creek and Big Darby Creek (Ohio, USA). We genotyped adults and individual glochidia at 12 microsatellite loci to assess local population structure relative to within-population patterns of relatedness and parentage. Local populations within watersheds were weakly structured, and within-population estimates of relatedness identified probable full- and half-siblings several kilometers apart. Parent–offspring comparisons provided evidence of multiple paternity in single broods and identified the likely father of 3 glochidia from 1female’s brood 16.2 km upstream of the mother, indicating that long-distance transport of spermatozoa can promote population connectivity within watersheds. Given that lampsilines and other unionoids exhibit similar reproductive strategies, it is possible that other species are capable of long-distance fertilization. If so, fertilization in populations of many freshwater mussels might not be limited by local density of breeding adults. Therefore, the prospects for recovery of imperiled freshwater mussels might be better than what is now expected.


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Marilyn Williams, Training Technician, Conservation Science and Policy Branch, National Conservation Training Center at 304-876-7940; e-mail


Matthew Patterson, Course Leader, Conservation Science and Policy Branch, National Conservation Training Center at 304-876-7473; e-mail