SALMUS – Salmonid Fish and Freshwater Pearl Mussel – Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in the Green Belt of Fennoscandia

A freshwater pearl mussel (Photo credit: Cornelya Klutsch)

Freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) are a key species in freshwater ecosystems because they provide ecosystem services like, for example, water filtration and nutrients that benefit other species like fish (check also out our fish projects here!). Their life cycle is closely linked to host species (i.e., Atlantic salmon and brown trout) for the mussels’ larvae. Hence, conservation of this endangered species is critically dependent on management strategies that include species interactions and knowledge production to increase our understanding of freshwater ecosystem functions.

The SALMUS project (funded by CBC Kolarctic) aims to harmonize research and monitoring methods in the Fennoscandian Green Belt region and includes international project partners from Finland, Russia, Sweden, and Norway. NIBIO Svanhovd contributes to these monitoring efforts in northern Norway and Finland.

Freshwater pearl mussels in river bed (Photo credit: Cornelya Klutsch)

However, the main goal NIBIO researchers are trying to achieve is to better understand the ecosystem functions of freshwater pearl mussels in their river ecosystem. Currently, we are working on a survey to assess cultural and (non-) monetary ecosystem services of this species as well as their host species.

The Fennoscandian Green Belt is home to several native Sámi peoples that are closely connected to these (and other) species. Traditional harvesting practices and local knowledge are essential co-produced knowledge sources to implement holistic conservation strategies and understand historical and changing ecosystem services. Here, you can find a collection of material covering these practices.

Education and outreach are key factors for societal engagement. Here, we provide a hub for educational material in several languages, including Sámi, kindly provided by collaboration partners.

Relevant links:

Links to partners: to be added.

Links to camera web stream: to be added.