Molluscs tagged for ID near Dorchester bridge

Molluscs tagged for ID near Dorchester bridge

About 55 little molluscs now have tiny identification tags glued to their shells and have been moved half a football field upriver to make way for a new bridge in Dorchester.

A team led by mollusc expert Gerry Mackie has finished a systematic search of the Thames riverbed near the Bridge St. span in search of endangered wavy-rayed lampmussels.

The search was a Natural Resources Ministry requirement before Middlesex County would be allowed to build a $5.8-million bridge a few metres upriver.

Mackie said his team found 55 lampmussels and five rainbow mussels near the bridge.

They identified each by sticking tags on them with KrazyGlue and then relocated them about 50 metres upriver, he said.

The team will return in a month to identify where they are and how healthy; and again in a year and two years from now.

Mackie, professor emeritus at University of Guelph, first identified invasive zebra mussels in North America two decades ago.

Middlesex County engineer Chris Traini said work on the new piers will begin within weeks and the bridge will be done by autumn 2012.

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