ArKoNaVera: Protective measures & development of a supra-regional species protection concept for large mussels


The freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) and the painter's mussel (Unio pictorum) were widely used in Europe. However, various negative factors such as water pollution, habitat destruction and the extinction of entire stocks led to a continuous decline in mussel populations. In Germany, this trend is also commonly observable, the freshwater pearl mussel and the painter's mussel are on the Red List as endangered and highly endangered species respectively. Other problems facing the two mussels are the isolated, outdated and genetically impoverished populations. These characteristics prevent the further reproduction of populations.

Project Description:

The joint project ArKoNaVera combines the forces of research and implementation partners to stabilize the population of the river pearl and painter's mussel in Saxony and Lower Bavaria, so that the two shell species can reproduce without human interference. Another important objective is to preserve genetic diversity.

The research partners investigate the reasons for the poor reproduction of the two large mussel species, identify and analyze potentially suitable habitats and prepare appropriate databases. Based on these calculations, necessary measures for the successful self-reproduction and for the optimization of habitats are defined and analyzed.

Our implementation partners are responsible, among other things, for the practical implementation of the aforementioned measures.

Additional project information can be found on our project website.

Our Services:

Fraunhofer IMW is one of the research partners in the joint project. The specific tasks are dealt with by two research groups.

Tasks of the Professionalization of Knowledge Transfer Processes Unit in the research project ArKoNaVera:

  • Stakeholder analysis in the drainages containing mussel habitats in Saxony
  • Evaluation of public relations (both during the process and towards the end of the project

Tasks of the Innovation Financing Unit in the reasearch project ArKoNaVera:

  • Inventory analysis of established methods and examination of alternative (crowdfunding) tools fo the economic evaluation of biodiversity measures
  • Development of a specific methodology for the economic evaluation of biodiversity measures using the example of the ArKoNaVera project


The ArKoNaVera project is jointly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) (FKZ 01LC1313A-D and 3514685E13-I13). The BMBF supports this project as Research for Sustainable Development (FONA).

Project Partners:

Technische Universität Dresden
Technische Universität München
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung UFZ
Sächsische Landesstiftung Natur und Umwelt
Landkreis Passau
Landratsamt Vogtlandkreis
Gesellschaft für Wasserwirtschaft, Gewässerökologie und Umweltplanung (WAGU GmbH)

Duration of Project:

1.6.2015 - 31.5.2012

Video on research project to protect freshwater mussels