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Historically, the rationale for sampling freshwater mussels was almost entirely for purposes of taxonomy, natural history surveys, and conservation and propagation efforts following a decline of the pearl button industry in the early 1900s.
The concept of quantitative sampling of freshwater mussels is almost unknown in historical literature. Except for some proprietary or unpublished quantitative studies, the first study designed primarily to quantitatively sample freshwater mussels was by Scruggs  followed by Isom , Bates , Isom , and Dennis and Bates . An earlier concept paper on “Quantitative sampling of mollusks and crustaceans” can be found in Wurtz .
This paper describes quantitative sampling methods for freshwater mussels within the context of varied study objectives, for example water pollution surveys. An example of a quantitative site-specific mussel study on the Cumberland River, Tennessee, is included. Difficulties with this study's design and application are discussed in some detail, along with site-specific studies on Kentucky Reservoir, Tennessee River, and Clinch River, Tennessee.
freshwater mussels, Unionidae, quantitative, qualitative, sampling, samplers, scuba, brails, snorkel, quadrats, transects
Program manager, Division of Air and Water Resources, Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology Branch, Tennessee Valley Authority, Muscle Shoals, AL
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