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Fisheries Biologist Coauthors Book on Freshwater Mussels

September 05, 2008

After almost 13 years of work and research, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Fisheries Biologist Jeff Garner finally can see the reality of having his hard work pay off in the form of a new book titled Freshwater Mussels of Alabama and the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The book, sponsored by ADCNR and coauthored with James D. Williams and Arthur E. Bogan, with foreword by E.O. Wilson, is a 908-page publication offering in-depth information on each of the 178 species that make up Alabama’s extraordinarily diverse freshwater mussel fauna. The book’s publisher, The University of Alabama Press, hails the book as must-have for educational and research purposes since Alabama’s rivers and waterways are home to the largest and most diverse population of freshwater mussel species in the nation. The book also covers reaches of the Mobile Basin that lie in Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. However, many of these mussel species have been significantly depleted in the last century due to habitat alteration (river damming, channelization, siltation), pollution, and invasive species, and many more are in imminent danger of extinction. Freshwater mussels serve as natural water filters and their presence may indicate a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

Garner is a malacologist and has been with ADCNR’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries for 14 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of North Alabama and a master’s degree in biology from The University of Alabama Huntsville. “Work on this volume has consumed a large portion of my time over the past 12 or so years,” said Garner. “It has been a terrific learning experience and I owe my coauthors, Jim Williams and Art Bogan, a debt of gratitude for involving me with this project. Its completion leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment and even greater admiration for the creatures that I have chosen to study.” Garner also co-edited Alabama Wildlife (Vol 2): Imperiled Aquatic Mollusks and Fishes and Alabama Wildlife (Vol 4): Conservation and Management Recommendations for Imperiled Wildlife.

James D. Williams is a research associate at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Fla. and coauthor of The National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes, Non-indigenous Fishes Introduced into Inland Waters of the United States, Vanishing Fish of North America, and The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fishes, Whales, and Dolphins.

Arthur E. Bogan is Research Curator of Aquatic Invertebrates for the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, N.C., and works as Adjunct Professor of Zoology at North Carolina State University, in addition to being coauthor of Freshwater Mussels of Tennessee.

Freshwater Mussels of Alabama and the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee contains 773 black-and-white and color illustrations and sells for $70. It may be ordered online at www.uapress.ua.edu or by calling 800-621-2736.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. 

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