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North American Freshwater Mussels: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation

Comprehensive review of a wide variety of topics in mussel ecology and conservation
Beyond simple review of available literature and provides original analysis and synthesis of information
Provides in-depth and engaging narratives pertaining to human uses of mussels and other items of broad natural history interest
Book is well-illustrated including many never or rarely seen images

By: Wendell R Haag (Author)

505 pages, 16 plates with 21 colour photos; 123 b/w photos and illustrations, 3 b/w maps, 30 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Oct 2012 | #197704 | ISBN-13: 9780521199384
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £113.00 $138/€127 approx

About this book

This well-illustrated book highlights freshwater mussels' fabulous diversity, amazing array of often bizarre ecological adaptations and their dire conservation plight. Summarizing and synthesizing historical and contemporary information as well as original research and analysis, North American Freshwater Mussels describes the diverse array of mussel life history strategies and builds a cohesive narrative culminating in the development of explicit frameworks to explain pervasive patterns in mussel ecology. The fascinating and colorful role of mussels in human society is also described in detail, including the little-known pearl button industry of the early 1900s and the wild and often violent shell harvest of the 1990s. The final chapter details humans' efforts to save these fascinating animals and gives a prognosis for the future of the North American fauna. North American Freshwater Mussels provides the first comprehensive review of mussel ecology and conservation for scientists, natural resource professionals, students and natural history enthusiasts.


1. Introduction to mussels and mussel ecology
2. Catching the mussel bug: a history of the study of mussel ecology in North America
3. Diversity and biogeography
4. Aquatic habitats and mussel assemblages
5. Host use and host infection strategies
6. These are very different animals: life history variation in mussels
7. Mussel population biology
8. Putting it all together: explaining patterns of mussel assemblage structure
9. Human exploitation of mussels
10. The decline of the North American mussel fauna: chronology and causes
11. Mussel conservation: the challenge of protecting a fragmented resource

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Wendell R. Haag is a Research Fishery Biologist with the US Forest Service in Oxford, Mississippi. His research on freshwater mussels has spanned twenty-five years and has explored an array of topics including life histories, fish host relationships, age and growth, biogeography, sampling methods, population dynamics and conservation issues. In 2008, he was recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers presented at The White House. He has published more than fifty peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and technical reports, as well as a number of popular articles.

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