Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and
the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee

St.Charles, Missouri - March 22-26, 2015

• FMCS-UMRCC 2015 Joint Meeting Program - Download pdf here •


The 9th Biennial FMCS Symposium and the 71st Annual UMRCC Meeting will be held March 22-26, 2015 at the St. Charles Convention Center, St. Charles, Missouri ( This meeting will feature contributed abstracts on a range of research and management topics in both oral and poster presentation format, FMCS Committee Meetings and Business Meeting, UMRCC Technical Sessions and Business Meeting, a joint plenary session focusing on the history, successes, and vision of the two societies, and a joint sessions on Big River and Landscape Ecology. The theme for this joint meeting is Conserving Aquatic Ecosystems – At the Confluence of the Past and Future. In addition to the customary platform and poster sessions, we will also offer a one-day mussel propagation workshop. The mixers, breaks, auction, and banquets will also be jointly held, offering multiple opportunities to network among members. The meeting is hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation and Ecological Specialists, Inc.

Meeting Registration

Formal registration is now available on the FMCS website
For all information on Registration and access to On-line registration pages, CLICK HERE

Registration rates include most meals and breaks if registering for the full joint meeting or just the FMCS portion.
Non-member registration also includes 2-yr membership dues for FMCS.
Registration is also available for just the UMRCC meeting and includes one overlap day with the FMCS Meeting.


Location & Travel

St. Charles, Missouri, is located on the banks of the Missouri River just a short distance upstream from the confluence with the Mississippi River. St. Charles, the 3rd oldest city west of the Mississippi River, was the first Missouri state capital and was the last "civilized stop" on the Corps of Discovery. The St. Charles Convention Center is easily accessible by car via Interstate 70 from St. Louis, Missouri. The Convention Center is conveniently located approximately 8 miles from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL); multiple ground-transportation vendors and car rental facilities are available.



Discounted lodging is available at the Embassy Suites St. Louis – St. Charles/Hotel & Spa, which is directly adjacent to the convention center. Lodging consists of a two-room suite with separate living and sleeping areas. Hotel rooms will be $118/night for 1-2 people and $128/night for 3-4 people (+ tax), and include a complimentary full breakfast and evening reception including adult beverages (Yes, complimentary as in Free…). The Embassy Suites also offers a free shuttle to the St. Charles Historic District.

The discounted room rate for our joint meeting will be available from March 21, 2015 to March 27, 2015.
Reservations can be made online. Click here
or by phone (636-946-5544), using the Group Name FMSC/UMRCC
and Group Code FMC.
These rates are only good to till February 13, 2015 SO GET YOUR ROOMS NOW!


Call for Abstracts

The abstract submission deadline for the March 2015 joint meeting is December 15, 2014 (Yes, THIS December 15…). The symposium format will be both oral and poster. Oral presentations will be limited to 20 minutes (including the question and answer period). Laptops for the oral presentations will be running Microsoft Windows 7 and PowerPoint 2010. Poster size is limited to 4' by 4'. If you wish to bring a display unit, special arrangements can be made.
Contact Stephen.McMurray.(

Abstracts for posters and oral presentations are limited to 300 words. The abstract title should appear in all caps and be followed by the author name(s) and affiliation(s). Abstracts should be written in Word utilizing Arial 11 point font. Abstracts should include clearly stated objectives, brief methods, general results, and the basic conclusion. At the bottom of your abstract please indicate your preference of oral or poster presentation and if you are willing to switch formats. Also indicate if this is a senior-authored student presentation that is to be judged for the best student platform/poster award (Note: only 1 senior-authored presentation, be it platform or poster, will be judged; please indicate which presentation you want judged). Submit your abstract to: Stephen.McMurray.(

Example abstract from a previous symposium:

ASSESSING THE HAZARDS OF CURRENT USE PESTICIDES TO EARLY LIFE STAGES OF NATIVE FRESHWATER MUSSELS. Robert B. Bringolf1, LeRoy F. Humphries2, Peter R. Lazaro1, Chris Eads2, Chris Barnhart3, Damian Shea1, Jay F. Levine2, and W. Gregory Cope1. 1Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; 2College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606; 3Department of Biology, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65804.

Native freshwater mussels (family Unionidae) are among the most imperiled faunal groups in North America. Approximately 67% of the nearly 300 freshwater mussel species are considered vulnerable to extinction or already extinct. North Carolina has historically supported 56 species of mussels; however, 82% of those species are currently listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of North Carolina. Although numerous stressors have been implicated in the decline of freshwater mussels, the effects of pesticides on native mussels is largely unknown. Timing of pesticide application combined with the unique life history and reproductive strategy of mussels makes them susceptible to pesticide exposure. The objective of this study was to determine the hazards of pesticides to early life stages of freshwater mussels. We performed acute toxicity tests with glochidia (7 species) and juveniles (6 species) exposed to a suite of current use pesticides (atrazine, fipronil, pendimethalin, and permethrin) and a reference toxicant (NaCl). Our results indicate that these pesticides, at concentrations approaching water solubility, were not acutely toxic to the species of glochidia and juveniles tested. However, in a 21-d chronic toxicity test performed with 4-month old juvenile Lampsilis siliquoidea exposed to atrazine, the 14-d atrazine LC50 was 15.8 mg/L (95% confidence interval 12.0-19.5) and the 21-d atrazine LC50 was 4.3 mg/L (95% confidence interval 2.8-5.8). Effects on growth and genotoxicity (single-strand DNA breaks) were also determined in the chronic test. Our results indicate that the relative risk associated with acute exposure of early life stages of mussels to the current use pesticides tested singly is likely low; however, survival and genotoxicity results indicate that chronic exposure of juvenile mussels to atrazine may be impacting mussel populations and warrants further investigation, as does the assessment of pesticide mixtures

Preferred Presentation Format: Oral Platform
Willing to Switch Format: Yes/No
Senior-authored student presentation to be judged for the best student platform/poster award: Yes/No

The goal of the Program Committee is to assemble and publish the draft meeting agenda and abstracts on the FMCS website ( by mid-January 2015.


Calling All Students

Student Travel Awards Available: To facilitate your participation in the 9th Biennial Symposium, travel awards are being offered by the FMCS. Support is provided via Society-paid lodging accommodations for the duration of the meeting at the host location (Embassy Suites St. Louis – St. Charles/Hotel & Spa). It is anticipated that up to 9 awards will be made for the 2015 Symposium. A complete application package must be submitted by e-mail as a PDF file to Dr. Teresa Newton, FMCS Awards Committee on or before January 15, 2015. Please see Awards Committee here for application forms and procedures or contact Teresa Newton (, phone 608-781-6217) for more information.

Student Volunteers: The Program Committee is in need of Student Volunteers to help with lights, A/V, and registration during the meeting. In exchange for a few hours' work at the meeting, Student Volunteers will receive a reimbursement on their discounted registration. If you're interested, please contact Daelyn Woolnough ( or Susan Oetker ( before registering for the meeting.


Meeting Theme

The theme for this joint meeting is Conserving Aquatic Ecosystems – At the Confluence of the Past and Future and the joint plenary session will highlight the history of the two organizations and provide outlooks on the future. We are planning on having sessions focusing on Big Rivers and Landscape Ecology and Outreach in Natural Resources. If you have an abstract for the Big River or Landscape Ecology sessions please contact the symposium committee chair StephenMcMurray (,) and if you have an abstract regarding the Outreach in Natural Resources session please contact the FMCS outreach committee chair Megan Bradley (


Area Attractions and Planned Trips

Located just minutes from downtown St. Charles, there are ample shops, eateries, and bars in historic St. Charles , and the hotel offers free shuttle service to historic Main Street. There are several other parks and attractions within an hour drive of St. Charles, so there will be plenty to do before or after the meeting. Just 25 minutes away is downtown St. Louis with the Arch, riverfront, and historic Laclede's Landing. At Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World's Fair, discover the world-renowned St. Louis Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center, and Missouri History Museum. Stroll around the world-class Missouri Botanical Garden. Visit unique neighborhoods such as Soulard's historic farmer's market, the Central West End's boutiques/antiques, and the funky, fun Delmar Loop.

Optional Day Trips are scheduled for Thursday, March 26th, 2015. All event trips will provide round trip transportation from the Embassy Suites Hotel.

1. Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation/Saint Louis Zoo

Part of the Wildcare Institute, the Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation established a captive breeding and rearing program for hellbenders. In 2011, the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Department of Conservation announced that Ozark hellbenders had been bred in captivity – a world's first for either of the two subspecies of hellbender. The decade-long collaboration yielded 165 baby hellbenders. Successful captive-breeding continues to this day. Behind the scenes at the Herpetarium are 3 fully-functioning man-made Missouri streams (1 indoor and 2 outdoor) for breeding hellbenders, complete with a rock bed, the occasional afternoon rain shower and the freshest and purest water in the area, as well as many rearing systems for 4000+ larval and juvenile hellbenders. Here the Zoo has formed a breeding group of adult hellbenders and is head-starting the young hellbenders for eventual release. Following a presentation on hellbender conservation efforts by Dr. Jeff Briggler, MDC Herpetologist, we will be given a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. After the tour, you are free to spend the rest of the day visiting the Saint Louis Zoo at your own pace.

The trip includes round trip transportation to the Saint Louis Zoo. Lunch (on your own) will be available at one of the many reasonably priced dining options in the zoo.
Trip Cost will be $35 per participant (Maximum of 25)
More information about the Saint Louis Zoo can be found here
More information about the Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation can be found here

2. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds, an Illinois State Historic Site, National Historic Landmark, and one of 22 World Heritage Sites in the US, was the largest prehistoric Indian site in America north of Mexico covering about 6 square miles along the Mississippi River. Cahokia was at its peak around AD 1050-1150 with at least 120 mounds and a population of 10-20,000 people. The culture that built Cahokia was part of the Mississippian tradition that flourished throughout the Mississippi Valley and the south utilizing this site as a center of trade in this region. Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas (Western Hemisphere), covering over 14 acres and rising in several terraces to a height of 100 feet. Visitors can climb the 156 steps to the summit. A 2-mile long defensive wall around the central 180 acres of the site, including Monks Mound, the Grand Plaza and 17 other mounds was built around AD 1200. Over the next 100 years, this wall of posts was rebuilt three more times. In addition to this wall "Woodhenge" - a circle monument that was used to track the seasons by alignment of posts on the circle's perimeter with the rising sun on the eastern horizon was built 5 times between AD 1100-1200. The number of posts increased each time of construction (24, 36, 48, 60, 72). The third circle has been reconstructed at the original location and is 410 feet in diameter. There are posts that align with the equinox and solstice sunrises and at other times throughout the year, so it appears to serve as a calendar device as well as enclosing a sacred space for ritual gatherings. The story of Cahokia is provided in the 33,000 sq. ft. Interpretive Center with an award winning orientation show, numerous exhibits, murals, dioramas, and artifacts, as well as a great gift shop. A lot of Mussels were found at Cahokia!

The trip includes round trip transportation to Cahokia, a box lunch, and a small donation to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
The tour will take approximately 4-5 hours more or less depending on interest and interpretation. Larry Kinsella, a primitive skills expert, has graciously offered to provide primitive skills demonstrations if time allows.
Trip Cost will be $60 per participant.
More information about the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site can be found here.
More information about Larry Kinsella can be found here.

3. National Great Rivers Museum & the Melvin Price Locks & Dam/National Great Rivers Research and Education Center

This trip will begin with a brief stop at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area, where attendees will have the opportunity to view the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers from an observatory near the actual confluence.

The tour will then resume, crossing the Mississippi River to Illinois where we'll visit the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center for an 11:00 tour (~60 minutes). Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Natural History Survey and Lewis and Clark Community College, the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.

After lunch we'll have the opportunity to visit the National Great Rivers Museum (~30 minute self-guided tour) at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam prior to our scheduled 2:00 Locks and Dam tour (~90 minutes). The National Great Rivers Museum at Melvin Price Locks and Dam is dedicated to telling the story of the Mississippi River… from her grand history and cultural significance, to her ecological importance and role as a transportation corridor. Melvin Price Locks and Dam replaced Lock and Dam 26, which was demolished in 1990. Almost from the beginning, Lock and Dam 26 was plagued with structural deficiencies. Scour holes developed below the dam. This was of particular concern because some of the holes were deeper than the wooden pilings supporting the dam. The scouring of the riverbed led to the disintegration of the concrete and a loss of foundation material, which eventually resulted in excessive deflections and settlement of the lock walls and dam piers. The construction of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam constituted the first replacement of an original installation of the 9-Foot Channel Project.

The trip includes round trip transportation, a box lunch, and a small donation to the National Great Rivers Museum.

Trip Cost will be $60 per participant (Maximum of 25)

More information about Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area can be found here and here
More information about the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center can be found here
More information about the Melvin Price Locks and Dam can be found here and here


Propagation Workshop

The propagation and restoration committee is sponsoring a full day (8am -5pm) workshop focused on innovations in the propagation and culture of freshwater mollusks on Sunday March 22, 2015 preceding the symposium in the St. Charles Convention Center. The workshop will be an opportunity to learn more about existing and developing techniques for freshwater mussel propagation and culture. The workshop will accommodate those new to freshwater mussel propagation as well as more experienced biologists looking to share new ideas. There will be a short poster session focused on propagation following the workshop.
The cost of the workshop will be $75. (Maximum of 70)

Please submit your poster abstract or ideas to Megan Bradley (
Space in the workshop is limited so don't miss out!


FMCS/UMRCC Auction - Auction items Needed!

Don't forget to bring your items for the auction! We will have our annual auction at the March, 2015 FMCS symposium and joint meeting with the UMRCC. Money generated during the auction helps to fund travel and scholarships for students attending. Please consider bringing the following items for auction: books, scientific journals, antiques, carvings, pictures, paintings, pottery, jewelry, hunting, fishing, boating, and camping equipment. Quality oddball-quirky "river booty" would be great! Please bring items to the symposium where there will be a designated area for storage.

If you have questions please contact Steve Ahlstedt (, 865.776.9510) or Lisie Kitchel (
If you need to ship large items, contact Steve McMurray ( or Heidi Dunn (



We are also seeking Sponsorships for the Joint Meeting. To become a Sponsor click here

River >$1000 One Complimentary Registration, Logo on Website Registration Page.
Stream $500 - $1000

One Registration Reduced by 25%, Logo Displayed at the Welcome Mixer. Logo on Website Registration Page.

Eddy $100-$499 Logo on Website Registration Page.
Mussel <$100 Recognition in the Symposium Program.


Send us your Photos!!

New for this Symposium, we'd like to run a PowerPoint presentation during the mixers, etc., showing FMCS and UMRCC members doing their thing. So, send your field photos, lab photos, etc., to show off your work or having fun!

Send photos to Heidi Dunn (

Contact Steve McMurray ( or Heidi Dunn ( with any questions.

We look forward to seeing you in St. Charles in March 2015!!





For more Information:
Steve McMurray ( or
Heidi Dunn (