Navigation Links
Queen's University Belfast works to save Strangford horse mussels

Queen's University Belfast is working on a three-year study to conserve and restore endangered horse mussel reefs in Strangford Lough.

Marine biologists based at the University's marine research and outreach centre in Portaferry in County Down, which is part of the School of Biological Sciences, will provide scientific and technological research to map and monitor the species and undertake trials to restore it.

Horse mussel reefs are important to the marine environment because they are 'biological engineers' which improve water quality through filtering it when they feed and also because many other species depend on them for survival.

Funded by the Department of Agriculture and the Rural Development and the Department of the Environment, the project follows a multi-agency report in 2004 which said that the beds were in serious decline.

DARD, supported by DOE, imposed a temporary ban on fishing in the Lough with mobile gear, from December 2003, which still remains in place.

As horse mussels were one of the features used in the conservation designation of Strangford Lough the UK government is obliged to protect them under European directives.

Although the horse mussel reef communities in Strangford Lough were once very rich they have declined at an alarming rate in some areas.

They are usually found in the central and northern part of the Lough, with their hard shells part buried in the soft mud sediment.

Horse mussels are important because they provide a hard surface for other species to grow on, in otherwise soft muddy areas. Other organisms also hide and shelter in the crevices and niches of clumps of horse mussels. They create a habitat for around 100 other species.

Dr David Roberts, from Queen's, who is Principal Investigator on the study entitled Modiolus Restoration Research, said it was the first of its kind for the species.

He said: "Queen's has expertise in the restoration of the European native oyster, freshwater pearl mussels and a long history of marine research. The University is therefore ideally positioned to undertake research to develop techniques and recommendations for the restoration of horse mussel reefs in Strangford Lough.

"One year into the study we have found that horse mussel reefs as not as widely distributed as they were in the 1970s and that some beds have extremely poor mussel density - less than 25% of what we would consider a good density.

"In terms of intervention we have started to culture the animals in the lab at Portaferry.

"Mussels are very important to the marine environment as they act as biological 'engineers' in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. When they feed they filter vast quantities of water thereby improving water quality. A frequently cited example is that of a population of blue mussels which were capable of filtering the entire contents of the Albert Dock in Liverpool in two days.

"Horse mussels work in the same way; they also provide habitat for over a hundred other species, serving as a nursery ground for species of commercial importance."


Contact: Andrea Clements
Queen's University Belfast

Related biology news :

1. For honey bee queens, multiple mating makes a difference
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
4. University of Oregon researcher finds that on waters surface, nitric acid is not so tough
5. Bioengineers at University of Pennsylvania devise nanoscale system to measure cellular forces
6. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
7. Antioxidant to retard wrinkles discovered by Hebrew University researcher
8. Society for General Microbiology 161st Meeting, University of Edinburgh
9. Boston University biomedical engineers find chink in bacterias armor
10. KAUST and American University in Cairo to collaborate on research and academic development
11. UNH becomes first university in nation to use landfill gas as primary energy source
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced ... of its DNA library preparation products, including the ... ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized ... NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free ... applications in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 In the present market scenario, ... for various industry verticals such as banking, healthcare, defense, ... growing demand for secure & simplified access control and ... as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of users, , ... as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected to provide ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... Calif. and LAS VEGAS ... Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in modern authentication ... , today announced the launch of its latest version ... unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that ... Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... a fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th ... . The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, ... .  A replay will be available for 14 days ... , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today announced that ... and invited investors to participate via webcast. ... 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time --> ... 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time --> ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock ... news release there are no corporate developments that would ... --> --> About ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton ... th Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City ... EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: