Scientists seeking cause of huge freshwater mussel die-off

Scientists are working to quickly discover what is killing hundreds of thousands of freshwater mussels on the Tennessee-Virginia border.

Mussels are extremely important to rivers for their ability to filter algae, silt and even heavy metals. Their populations everywhere have declined steeply from pollution, habitat loss and climate change. The current decline looks like it might be something different infectious disease. Similar mussel die-offs have been reported on at least five U.S. rivers and in Spain.

Scientists say they are working quickly to identify the culprit because if all the mussels die, the rivers will never be the same.

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