After almost 13 years of research, Museum malacologist Arthur E. Bogan can see the reality of his hard work in a new book titled “Freshwater Mussels of Alabama and the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.” The book, which Bogan co-authored with James D. Williams and Jeffrey T. Garner, with a foreword by E.O. Wilson, is 908 pages of 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 parts of the Mobile Basin that lie in Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. 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 are natural water filters, and their presence may indicate a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Bogan is research curator of aquatic invertebrates for the Museum and adjunct professor of zoology at North Carolina State University.