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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 735, Issue 1, pp 149–159 | Cite as

Historical geography of pearl harvesting and current status of populations of freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera (L.) in the western part of Northern European Russia

  • Alexander Makhrov
  • Julia Bespalaya
  • Ivan Bolotov
  • Ilja Vikhrev
  • Mikhail Gofarov
  • Yaroslava Alekseeva
  • Alexey Zotin
FRESHWATER BIVALVES Review Paper

Abstract

This paper summarises data on the occurrence of freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera in the western part of Northern European Russia adjacent to White Sea, Barents Sea, Onega Lake and Ladoga Lake basins. Also, this article provides an overview of the literature-based data and archive materials on the history of pearl harvesting. We include a list of rivers of Northwestern Russia, where pearls were harvested during the period of the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. The pearl mussel populations at the present time exist in at least 24 water streams in Northwestern Russia. Many of these populations are in high abundance and are able to reproduce normally. Data on the status of populations are given in this paper. Data indicate that the pearl mussel population in Russia contains >143.5 million individuals, but this estimation is certainly undervalued. Timber floating (timber floating is the transport of timber on waterways), hydro-engineering construction, pollution of rivers by industrial wastes and introduction of alien species, as well as a reduction in host fish species numbers can all be cited as the main factors that transformed the ecosystems inhabited by pearl mussel of Northern Russia. In addition, methods used in the Russian Federation for decreasing the anthropogenic load on pearl mussel populations were considered.

Keywords

Freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera Northwestern Russia Historical geography Conservation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper would have been unthinkable without the help of the colleagues who have taken part in joint field work and the generously shared literature and information: V. S. Artamonova, P. Aspholm, Yu. Yu. Barskaya, D. K. Dirin, A. Helm, L. Henrikson, E. P. Ieshko, M. Kaukoranta, O. L. Khristoforov, P. V. Kijashko, D. I. Lebedeva, I. G. Murza, O. Novokhatskaya, A. N. Ostrovsky, P. Oulasvirta, I. Yu. Popov, M. Rudzīte, M. Rudzītis, I. L. Shchurov, V. A. Shirokov, B. S. Shulman, I. S. Voroshilova, E. N. Voznesenskaya and V. V. Ziuganov. The study has been partially supported by grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, RFBR (Grant no. 12-04-00594, 11-04-98815); the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Presidium Program ‘Life Nature: Present state and problems of development’ (Sub-Program ‘Dynamics and conservation of Gene Pools’); the Ural Branch of RAS & the Ministry of Science and Education of Russia.

Supplementary material

10750_2013_1546_MOESM1_ESM.doc (96 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 97 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Makhrov
    • 1
  • Julia Bespalaya
    • 2
  • Ivan Bolotov
    • 2
  • Ilja Vikhrev
    • 2
  • Mikhail Gofarov
    • 2
  • Yaroslava Alekseeva
    • 3
  • Alexey Zotin
    • 4
  1. 1.A.N. Severtsov Institute of Problems of Ecology and EvolutionRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Ecological Problems of the North of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of SciencesArkhangelskRussia
  3. 3.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  4. 4.N.K. Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology of Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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