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Mussels in Luxembourg?

When I set off on 13 April, I had no idea what to expect. My parents had only told me that it had something to do “with mussels in Luxembourg”. At first I couldn’t take them seriously, mussels in Luxembourg? I would soon find out that there really are mussels in Luxembourg.

My parents had organised a lift for me and at 08h30 sharp (on a Saturday morning!) a lady collected me. Before heading off to natur&ëmwelt's Mussels Rearing Station, we had to pick up another person at the train station. Our destination then was Lieler, Luxembourg. Neither of us really knew what this trip was about nor where Lieler even was! All we knew was that we were heading north and after an hour’s drive we finally got to Lieler.

Here we had an introduction to the freshwater mussels. I was quite amazed to hear that they even existed in Luxembourg, or for that matter that freshwater mussels even existed at all! We were told how useful freshwater mussels are to river and streams since they are filter feeders. They filter the water and make it cleaner. We then went on a walk to the rearing station for the freshwater mussels.

At the station we were shown a film which showed the life cycle of a river mussel and the dangers they face. Most mussel offspring don’t survive because they suffocate. They grow in the gravel of rivers and stream, but sediment seals the gaps so the mussels cannot breathe. We were then given a tour of the station and shown how they try to keep the species alive by the means of raising the mussels until they are big enough to survive on their own, and releasing them into their natural habitat.

Philip Murdock
Volunteer, natur&ëmwelt English-speaking Section
ne.english.section@gmail.com
Videos in German related to the projects can be found here:
http://www.naturemwelt.lu/natur-an-emwelt_Life-project--freshwater-pearl-mussel.41-2-0.html