TORONTO, ON Tuesday, April 11, 2017: Spring has officially sprung and as the temperature continues to climb Canadians will be sitting on the dock enjoying summer in no time. How will you be keeping your kids amused while at the lake or hiking along streams this summer? The Clam Counter App is the answer and the Toronto Zoo and Fisheries and Oceans Canada need YOU! You can help save these critically endangered freshwater mussels without even getting your feet wet.
In celebration of Canada 150, biologists from the Toronto Zoo and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have created an app fittingly named Clam Counter. After two years in the making, we are both proud to announce the official launch of this new nationwide app. Clam Counter’s purpose is twofold. Firstly, utilizing the app in ‘reporting mode’ encourages public awareness and participation in freshwater mussel conservation. Secondly, using the app in ‘expert mode’ acts as a field guide for biologists. The information gathered from this new app will help to identify abundances and locations of freshwater mussels, which is crucial to prevent further population losses of these important species. Over 65% of freshwater mussel species are imperiled across Canada as a result of habitat loss, pollution, and competition from invasive zebra mussels.
“Engaging interested Canadians for freshwater mussels takes us leaps and bounds ahead of a dozen field biologists working on our own,” says C. Lee, Curator of Fishes and Marine Invertebrates, Toronto Zoo. “We are excited about this national app assisting mussels.”
"Whether you’re a cottager, amateur naturalist, or a professional scientist, this app is for you. The user friendly platform allows everyone to explore the fascinating world of freshwater mussels and contribute to the conservation of these imperiled animals.” Dr. Todd Morris, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Do you think you may have spotted a freshwater mussel? If so, please record details of your experience by downloading Clam Counter! Information from your findings will be shared with partner organizations to determine the status of freshwater mussel populations and to supplement conservation programs and initiatives. With your help, we can provide a safe and cleaner environment for these fascinating creatures.
Clam Counter is easy to use and with you assisting our biologists we can map where these threatened and endangered native species can be found. Download this APP, in French or English, through the IOS App Store and Android Google Play Store today!
Here are some fun and important facts about Freshwater mussels found in Canada:
- 54 freshwater mussel species live in Canada. 41 of these freshwater mussel species live in Ontario’s rivers and lakes.
- Freshwater mussels are important parts of aquatic ecosystems. They clean the water and can filter up to 40L every day. They provide habitat and food for other animals.
- They act as "bio indicators" for humans as their health is directly related to the health of the ecosystem.
- They can live 100 years!
To learn more about freshwater mussels and Toronto Zoo’s Conservation Efforts