Nature PEI

Tuesday May 3, 2022 – Nature PEI

River Herring and Freshwater Mussels at Nature PEI Meeting, May 3, 2022

Kyle Knysh of University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Biology Department will be the speaker at the  Nature PEI Meeting on May 3 , 2022, 7:30 PM at the Carriage House, corner of West and Kent Street, Charlottetown. He will describe a unique project completed in 2022 involving species detections through the use of environmental DNA.


In 2022, UPEI and Nature PEI collaborated in a first assessment of river herring and freshwater mussel distribution on PEI. River herring consist of Alewives , also called gaspereau, and the lesser known Blueback Herring. The Alewife Floater is a freshwater mussel species dependent on river herring for its longterm survival and dispersal.  Also assessed was the distribution of the Eastern Pearlshell, a freshwater mussel that is dependent on Atlantic Salmon in order to complete its life cycle. The mussels, in turn, filter high volumes of water and contribute to healthy streams that support fish. Limited known distributions of the Alewife Floater (two locations) and the Eastern Pearlshell on PEI suggest that they may be at risk of local extinction.

Kyle Knysh is an ecologist with research interests in aquatic ecosystems and invertebrate biology. His research focuses on community ecology and investigating multiple stressor effects on biodiversity. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Ecology at the University of Alberta, a Master\’s thesis at in freshwater entomology at UPEI, and is presently a Ph.D. Candidate at UPEI investigating pollution-related impacts on estuary crustaceans, with a focus on amphipods. Additionally, he has collaborated on citizen science projects on invasive species and fish-invertebrate interactions, including Nature PEI\’s Freshwater Mussel and Herring Project (using environmental DNA). 

For more information: Kyle Knysh

                                         Rosemary Curley

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