Ohio Standardized Freshwater Mussel ID Test


Ohio Standardized Freshwater Mussel Identification Test

Anyone who wishes to conduct mussel surveys in Ohio will need to have passed the Standardized Freshwater Mussel Identification Test. This includes individuals already possessing federal permits for freshwater mussels.

Tests are administered by appointment only and at the discretion of the Division of Mollusks of The Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity (MBD). Records of scores for each test attempt, successful or unsuccessful, are maintained by the MBD Division of Mollusks and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.

 Book your test appointment

  • The test is available twice a day, between 10:30AM and 6PM, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays by appointment only. Appointments can be made one (1) week to 45 days in advance, using the online booking system linked above.
  • The test will be delivered at the Museum of Biological Diversity of The Ohio State University, 1315 Kinnear Rd., Columbus, OH 43212.
  • Hourly and daily parking is available, see https://osu.campusparc.com/ for costs.

Test format and rules:

  1. The test includes Ohio unionid mussel species. Some species may occur more than once.
  2. You may return to any previous specimens as needed, and may compare specimens freely.
  3. The locality from which each specimen on the test was collected is available upon request.
  4. Once started, the test must be completed within three (3) hours.
    • Bathroom / snack breaks may be taken at your discretion, without permission.
  5. The test can be administered to two people at once, who may be asked to share a room.
    • You may not share a room / time slot with another person from your institution/organization.
    • If you are more comfortable taking the test by yourself, please mention it when you make your appointment.
  6. The test is “open book” so you may bring outside sources (books, notes, photographs, etc) to the test, provided they are on paper.
  7. No outside phones, computers, or tablets are allowed in the room with you while you take the test.
  8. To pass the test, you must correctly identify:
    • 100% of federally listed and Ohio threatened & endangered species
    • at least 80% of the species on the test overall
  9. You may retake the test as many times as you wish, but the entire test must be retaken each time. In general, you must allow at least one (1) week in between attempts, however exceptions may be made for test takers who have traveled long distances to take the test.
  10. After passing the test, you will receive a Certificate of Completion, valid for five-years from the date of the test.
    • You must schedule and re-take the test within this time-period to continue as an approved mussel surveyor.

Please e-mail the Curator of Mollusks, Nathaniel Shoobs (shoobs.1@osu.edu) if you have questions about the test.

See the ODNR Division of Wildlife document "Ohio Mussel Survey Protocol" for more information.