Mollusks and Marine Environments of the Ten Thousand Islands provides the first comprehensive overview of the shells and habitats that are present in the last unexplored coastal area of southwestern Florida. The mysterious and primordial Ten Thousand Islands, where the rivers and marshlands of the Everglades empty into the Gulf of Mexico, house a number of remarkable marine ecosystems, many shown here in detail for the first time. Primary among these are unique worm shell "reef systems", composed entirely of immense masses of vermetid gastropod molluscs. These previously unexplored and unstudied gastropod reefs, which are often many acres in size, are shown here to mimic coral reefs in their growth structure and represent the only large-scale molluscan reefs found anywhere on Earth. Living in association with the zonated gastropod reefs are a number of rare and unusual molluscs, some of which represent endemic species that are unique to the Ten Thousand Islands. These and many other southwestern Florida shells are illustrated throughout Mollusks and Marine Environments of the Ten Thousand Islands, along with detailed illustrations and descriptions of the marine and estuarine environments that dominate the archipelago and its adjacent lagoon systems.
- The Vermetoherms of the Ten Thousand Islands
- The Ten Thousand Islands Sand and Mud Flats
- The Ten Thousand Islands Sea Grass Beds
- The Deep Channels and Offshore Areas
- Systematic List of the Mollusks of the Ten Thousand Islands
About the Authors
Appendix 1. Map of the Ten Thousand Islands; Northern Section
Appendix 2. Map of the Ten Thousand Islands; Southern Section (upper)
Appendix 3. Map of the Ten Thousand Islands; Southern Section (lower)
Edward J. Petuch was born in Bethesda, Maryland in 1949. Raised in a Navy family, he spent many of his childhood years collecting living and fossil shells in such varied localities as Chesapeake Bay, California, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin. His early interests in malacology and oceanography eventually led to BA and MS degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During his MS thesis research, Petuch concentrated on the molluscan biogeography of West Africa, travelling extensively in the Canary Islands, Western Sahara, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Cameroons. During this time, he also conducted research on the molluscan ecology of both coasts of Mexico and the Great Barrier Reef of Belize. Continuing his education, Petuch studied marine biogeography and malacology under Gilbert Voss and Donald Moore at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami, where he received a full scholarship. During this time, his doctoral dissertation research involved intensive fieldwork in Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Barbados, the Grenadines, and Brazil, where he often went to sea with the local shrimpers for weeks at a time. After receiving his PhD in oceanography in 1980, Petuch was invited to conduct two years of postdoctoral research, funded by the National Science Foundation, with Geerat Vermeij at the University of Maryland. While there, he also held a research associateship with the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, under the sponsorship of Thomas Waller, and conducted fieldwork in the Plio-Pleistocene fossil beds of Florida and North Carolina and the Miocene fossil beds of Maryland and Virginia. Petuch has also collected and studied living molluscs in Australia, Papua-New Guinea, Fijis, French Polynesia, Japan, the Bahamas, Nicaragua, and Uruguay. This research has led to the publication of over 300 scientific papers and the discovery and description of over 1,200 new species of molluscs and over 90 new genera. His previous 20 books are well-known reference texts in the malacological and paleontological communities, and some of the better known include Jewels of the Everglades: The Fossil Cowries of Southern Florida (2018), The Living and Fossil Busycon Whelks: Iconic Mollusks of Eastern North America (2015), Molluscan Communities of the Florida Keys and Adjacent Areas: Their Ecology and Biodiversity (2014), Biogeography and Biodiversity of Western Atlantic Mollusks (2013), Molluscan Paleontology of the Chesapeake Miocene (2010), Ancient Seas of Southern Florida: The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas (2021), Cenozoic Seas: The View from Eastern North America (2004), and Cone Shells of the Okeechobean Sea (2015). Currently, Petuch is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida where, for thirty years, he taught undergraduate classes in oceanography, palaeontology, and physical geology, and graduate classes in paleoecology and paleoceanography. He currently resides in Jupiter, Florida, with his wife Linda, where they both enjoy visits from their three children and their families.
David P. Berschauer was born in Rockville Center, New York in 1964, and spent his youth collecting shells in such varied localities as California, New York, Florida, Washington, and Mexico. His early interests in natural history, malacology, and marine biology eventually led to a B.S. degree in biology at the University of California-Irvine, an advanced marine invertebrate zoology course at Washington State University’s Friday Harbor Marine Lab, and studies towards the pursuit of a graduate degree in marine biology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. While still an undergraduate, Berschauer performed field biology research, published a number of research papers and gave scientific presentations at national conferences. He subsequently switched career paths and attended Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California, earning his Juris Doctorate degree in 1991. Although having developed a legal career, he has kept malacology as a lifetime avocation and has put together a sizeable research collection and personal museum of molluscan specimens. Over his entire professional life, Berschauer continued to pursue his passion for marine biology, and collecting and studying marine organisms. In his spare time, he has developed and published a relational database software program to aid in the organization and maintenance of a systematic collection. Although originally designed for malacology, the program is applicable to entomology and other aspects of systematic zoology. Now residing in Laguna Hills, California, Berschauer is an active member of the San Diego Shell Club and is the co-editor of the journal, The Festivus. He is also well known for his natural history and shell photography, with a multitude of high-quality examples seen throughout this book. Besides being the author of many important scientific papers on molluscan systematics, Berschauer has described and named over 30 new species of gastropods and is also the co-author of several recent books on molluscs, including The Living and Fossil Busycon Whelks: Iconic Mollusks of Eastern North America (2015), Jewels of the Everglades: The Fossil Cowries of Southern Florida (2018), and the well-received Sea Shells of Southern California: Marine Shells of the Californian Province (2018). Between court cases and an active law practice, Berschauer and his wife Felicia find time to enjoy travelling on cruise ships and exploring.
"There is nothing like this book, and there is a tremendous need for more documentation of the ecology of the Ten Thousand Islands, both for its own sake as part of the environmental record, but also due to looming effects of sea level rise. The entire region is extremely vulnerable to ecological change due to climate change and many of the areas, environments, and species Petuch and Berschauer document will likely be impacted in the next 20 years. The photographs are incredible, and provide a very useful reference for shell identification. This book will be an essential reference for a wide range of scholars and advocational malacologists, including archaeologists."
– Traci Ardren, Professor of Anthropology and Interim Chair, University of Miami, USA
"This book is written in the traditions and standards of the popular nature guides, and it exceeds these standards! It covers everything from mollusks to birds and raccoons, so should be of interest not only to biologists, ecologists, and shell collectors, but also to the general public. It describes everything well without being overwhelmingly technical, appealing to many readers, of all ages, interested in nature and coastal environments. The large number of color photographs and plates provide a great visual guide to the contents of the book, and the iconography parts will be very useful for identification of mollusks."
– Anton Oleinik, Department of Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University
"I am a social scientist, and I rely on books such as these for the broader context of the questions that I explore regarding the nature of human use of these aquatic environments and the species that dwell within them. Oftentimes, relevant species and habitat specific information is difficult to find and oftentimes it is out of date. Therefore, having a resource such as this is invaluable to someone like me, as well as being a key source for those in the life sciences!"
– Victor D. Thompson, Professor & Director, University of Georgia, USA