Changing perspectives on pearly mussels, North America's most imperiled animals

David L. Strayer, John A. Downing, Wendell R. Haag, Timothy L. King, James B. Layzer, Teresa J. Newton, S. Jerrine Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

480 Scopus citations


Pearly mussels (Unionacea) are widespread, abundant, and important in freshwater ecosystems around the world. Catastrophic declines in pearly mussel populations in North America and other parts of the world have led to a flurry of research on mussel biology, ecology, and conservation. Recent research on mussel feeding, life history, spatial patterning, and declines has augmented, modified, or overturned long-held ideas about the ecology of these animals. Pearly mussel research has begun to benefit from and contribute to current ideas about suspension feeding, life-history theory, metapopulations, flow refuges, spatial patterning and its effects, and management of endangered species. At the same time, significant gaps in understanding and apparent paradoxes in pearly mussel ecology have been exposed. To conserve remaining mussel populations, scientists and managers must simultaneously and aggressively pursue both rigorous research and conservation actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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