Functional ecology of freshwater mussels in Peninsular Malaysia

Mahadzir, Farah Najwa (2018) Functional ecology of freshwater mussels in Peninsular Malaysia. MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In Southeast Asia, freshwater mussel diversity, distribution and conservation status is very poorly understood, with limited data and studies available on its functional ecology as compared to freshwater mussels in temperate regions. The present thesis aims to investigate the functional ecology of freshwater mussels in Peninsular Malaysia. Firstly, the effects of mussels on the water column were investigated in a filtration experiment combining mesocosm in natural habitat and laboratory experiment involving river mussel community and lake mussel community. Second, the effects of mussel presence on benthic macroinvertebrates were investigated through biodiversity survey in 28 sites with and without mussel presence across Peninsular Malaysia.

While in situ clearance shown no significant differences between mussel treatments and controls, ex situ clearance experiment suggest that both river and lake mussel communities affect the ecosystem through different ways. River mussel have significant significantly reduces Soluble Reactive Phosphorus (SRP) (P=0.048), indicating removal of nutrient from the water column. Inversely, lake mussel community significantly increase Total Phosphorus (TP) (P<0.001) concentration, indicating biodeposition taking place instead. This difference was further supported the observation that River mussels significantly decreasing the concentration of chlorophyll a (P=0.007) whereas lake mussel significantly increases the concentration of chlorophyll a (P<0.001). The results suggest that tropical freshwater mussels from different freshwater ecosystems may perform different ecological functions.

Biodiversity survey indicates that freshwater mussels in Peninsular Malaysia have significant effect on higher species richness in tropical streams (P=0.047) similar to freshwater mussels in temperate regions, although invertebrate taxa with clear preference for mussel presence differed the two systems. The order Hemiptera had shown significant preference for mussel sites (P=0.008), and orders Plecoptera and Decapoda had shown positive correlation to mussel presence although not to a statistically significant level. The utilisation of DNA barcoding for macroinvertebrate identification also indicates several species sampled have yet to be recorded into the Genebank library. Further studies into the functional roles of freshwater mussels in tropical ecosystem coupled with advanced methods such as DNA barcoding should be carried out in the future to develop a better management and conservation strategy for Unionidae in Peninsular Malaysia.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MRes)
Supervisors: Zieritz, Alexandra
Vu, Tuong Thuy
Wilson, John-James
Keywords: freshwater mussels, unionidae, functional ecology, filter-feeding, ecosystem engineers
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Science and Engineering — Science > School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences
Item ID: 52286
Depositing User: Mahadzir, Farah Najwa
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 17:02

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