Natural History Informing Research: A Review of the Freshwater Mussels of Ohio

Article excerpt

Natural History Informing Research: A Review of The Freshwater Mussels of Ohio, Watters, G. Thomas, Michael A. Hoggarth and David H. Stansbery. 2009. The Freshwater M^ussels of Ohio. The University of Ohio Press, Columbus. ISBN 978-0-8142-1105-2

Freshwater mussels are one of the most imperiled groups of organisms in North America; neaYty half of the known native taxa are either extinct or on the verge (Master et al., 2000). Their habitats\ have undergone numerous changes over the last two centuries: impoundment construction, pollution, Hand use change, overharvesting, channeling and dredging and the introduction of invasive species. Researchers and conservationists generally accept that these changes contribute to mussel declines bu* have had difficulty translating this general knowledge into appropriate conservation action for particular species or site. There is an urgent need to enhance our understanding of freshwater mussel ecology in order to make informed conservation decisions.

By carefully collating species-specific natural history and taxonomic details, The Freshwater Mussels of Ohio will help with such research efforts. The authors begin with an introduction to freshwater mussels in general, including historical human use, classification, evolution, anatomy, life history and conservation issues, but the focus of the book is species-specific information. Arranged alphabetically by Latin name, the authors include each species' natural history details (reproductive timing, host fish, glochidial description, preferred habitat); a detailed physical description of each species, including color photographs of specimens (with numerous pictures per species to demonstrate the range in appearance) from the Ohio State University Museum; historical and current ranges, including Ohio maps; etymology of the Latin name; and taxonomic history, including former names and ambiguities. …