Scientists at Virginia Tech found that the presence of colonies of freshwater mussels plays an important role in water bodies. Mussels filter water particles from dirt, purifying it. At the same time, due to the high level of water pollution, they lose their ability to survive, reproduce, and are threatened with extinction.

A team of biologists led by Jess Jones, using a special camera system, created a video with a 360-degree panoramic view. They also used a hydrophone to transmit all the sounds of the underwater world and “interview some of the mussels,” as one participant put it. The shooting location was the Clinch River, which is part of the Mississippi River basin. The audiovisual project dedicated to mussel problems is called Benthos 360.

“We wanted to tell the exciting story of freshwater mussels,” says Hull. “Their hidden world is endangered.”

The freshwater mussel is of little interest due to its modest appearance. For reproduction, it releases larvae onto the surface of fish, which transfer them on themselves until the mussels can exist on their own. Growing up, mussels create huge cleansing ecosystems in reservoirs, which until now remained unnoticed.

“We want to tell an important story that will inspire people. We want even young children and students to get to know the Benthos 360 project and learn about the hidden beauty and difficulties of the natural world. We must all together save the environment, “said the biologists.