The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. has received data records of over 18,000 specimens of freshwater bivalve molluscs housed in the LSU Shreveport Museum of Life Sciences.
The data records represent species from the families of Unionidae and Margaritiferidae and have been added to the Smithsonian’s preliminary inventory of U.S. freshwater mussel collections. Research conducted will help scientists investigate taxonomic, temporal, and spatial patterns in freshwater mussel records.
“Our data records are a great asset to providing impactful information for research,” Assistant Director of the Red River Watershed, Jerome Lewis, said. “The Research Zoologist and Curator from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian contacted us for our records of freshwater mussel data, and we were happy to offer from our collection.”
According to the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (FMCS), these species of molluscs live up to their name and reside in fresh water moving up to eight gallons of water per day through their internal filtration systems. They resemble what are commonly known as mussels, nature’s freshwater version of marine clams. The molluscs can filter out dangerous bacteria such as E. coli.
Located on campus, the LSUS Museum of Life Sciences, keeps nearly 36,000 specimen records in its mollusc collection. It also includes collections of bird, mammal, amphibian, reptile, insect, plant, crawfish, and spider species.