Title: Alewife Floater Mussel Urn/ covered jar
Descriptive info: Midrange porcelain, wheel thrown, carved, painted with underglaze, fired in a soda kiln and then china painted. Information about species listed below.
Size: 6 x 6 x 9.5
Shipping cost: $45.00
Proceeds from the sale of this object benefit the artist, Artaxis, and a land trust in the states where the species live. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to ship this object out of the US, or if you have any questions.
1. ALEWIFE FLOATER MUSSEL
Though this species of mussel was once prominent in several free-flowing rivers, throughout the northeastern U.S. and lower Canadian territories, it's numbers have dwindled dramatically in recent years. The Alewife Floater mussel is identifiable by it’s dark brown exterior and pinkish interior, thinly shelled, and usually no longer than seven inches in length. Like most mussels, it procreative survival is dependent on a few different species of “host” fish. It’s namesake identifies the first and most important fish to the Alewife Floater mussel, but it’s larvae, called glochidia, also attach to the gills of Blueback herring and American Shad. As a mature mussel, it can survive many years burrowed into a wide variety of river substrate, from silt to cobblestone, for protection.
This mussel’s dependency on anadromous fish means that it is threatened by man-made diversions of the river systems, such as dams and reservoirs, which restrict the natural migration of these species of fish, whose numbers are also in decline. Often the disruption to the free-flowing waterways also affects it’s dispersion area, with less tributary volume causing streams to become too shallow to support this mussel population. The introduction of the Zebra Mussel into these shared waterways further complicates the conservation efforts to protect the Alefish Floater Mussel, who it must compete with for food. Climate change may pose a significant threat to certain mussel species. Although some mussels have been negatively affected by cold water releases from dams causing a year of low reproduction, and warming stream temperatures have been shown to benefit some species to a degree, ultimately there is a temperature threshold where species may begin to be impacted by increased water temperature. Mussels may adapt to gradually warming streams but extreme temperatures at either spectrum is what causes large die offs. Studied acute lethal thermal tolerances among several mussel species and found that even mildly increasing temperatures can lead to significantly reduced survival in some species.
The easiest way to help this species is to remove ineffective and old dams from New York State. Currently the average age of the 7000 dams in New York is 69 years old. 400 of them are considered ‘high hazard’. In addition, in general careful handling of invasive species is key. Global warming is an overwhelming condition and it is difficult to figure out what one can do to help. There are many online resources for education and action.