A model for simulating freshwater mussel population dynamics is presented. The model is a hydroinformatics tool that integrates principles from ecology, river hydraulics, fluid mechanics and sediment transport, and applies the individual-based modelling approach for simulating population dynamics. The general model layout, data requirements, and steps of the simulation process are discussed. As an illustration, simulation results from an application in a 10 km reach of the Upper Mississippi River are presented. The model was used to investigate the spatial distribution of mussels and the effects of food competition in native unionid mussel communities, and communities infested by Dreissena polymorpha, the zebra mussel. Simulation results were found to be realistic and coincided with data obtained from the literature. These results indicate that the model can be a useful tool for assessing the potential effects of different stressors on long-term population dynamics, and consequently, may improve the current understanding of cause and effect relationships in freshwater mussel communities. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.