What's New?

Page last updated
30 November 2012

What's New with the MUSSELp?

The highlights of 2012.


30 November 2012 -- Pfeiffer Thesis Defense. John M. Pfeiffer III of the University of Alabama successfully defended his masters thesis, "Evolution of asymmetrical larvae in freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida)." Click back thru the MUSSELp news of the last couple years, and you will see that John has been productive, as a sequencer of freshwater mussel specimens for BivAToL (the Bivalve Tree of Life), an avid photographer for the MUSSELp, and also as a researcher pursuing his own interests.

The ranks of malacology now have another Pfeiffer to keep track of. In honor of John's success, we have dedicated the December 2012 Mussel of the Month, Trapezoideus exolescens, to him. Congratulations, Mr. Pfeiffer, and keep up the good work!

DLG attended John Pfeiffer's masters defense in Tuscaloosa via iChat.
DLG attended John Pfeiffer's masters defense in Tuscaloosa via iChat.



8 October 2012 -- MUSSELp Ten-Tennial 2002-2012. This week is the 10 year anniversary of the formation of the MUSSEL Project. On 7-8 October 2002, Kevin Cummings and Dan Graf got together in Champaign, IL to combine their databases of freshwater mussel diversity, and they submitted their first NSF grant together a few months later. The MUSSELp Web Site chronicles our goings-on over the last 120 months.

MUSSELp Ten-tennial 2002-2012


Bama graduate student John Pfeiffer snorkeling after the wily freshwater mussel in the Tua River of Portugal.4-7 September 2012 -- MUSSELp in Portugal. Bama graduate student John Pfeiffer represented the MUSSELp at the International Meeting on Biology and Conservation of Freshwater Mussels in Bragança, Portugal. John presented both a paper and poster.

His paper, "Evolution of Asymmetrical Larvae in Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae)," presented the latest phylogenetic results from his research on the evolution of glochidial morphology in the Unionidae.

His poster on the phylogeny of Lamprotula won the best student poster award (again).

While he was abroad John managed to get in a field trip to the Tua River. John's research in collaboration with DLG was funded by the National Science Foundation and his travel was covered by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama.

Tua River, Portugal.
Tua River, Portugal.


27 August 2012 -- MUSSELpws moves to UWSP. Beginning in this month, the MUSSEL Project Web Site is now hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. DLG has taken up a new post there as aquatic invertebrate biologist, and our web site has moved with him. Our thanks to the University of Alabama for hosting the MUSSELpws from 2008 to 2012.

The new URL is or Please update your bookmarks and, if you haven't already, "friend" us on FaceBook.

UWSP Pointers


Diane Shasteen, Kevin Cummings & Alison Price with their awards from the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting.16-21 June 2012 -- MUSSELp at the AMS at the ANSP. The American Malacological Society held its annual meeting near Philadelphia, and the MUSSELp was there. The meeting was hosted by the our friends at DLG's old seat at the newly christened Acadedmy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

KSC and his crew from the Illinois Natural History Survey presented a talk based on their work on the trends among the freshwater mussels of the Great State of Illinois, "Changes in the freshwater mussel (Unionoidea) fauna of Illinois over the past 100 years as an exemplar for North America."

Bama graduate student John Pfeiffer presented his talk, "Evolution of Asymmetrical Larvae in Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae)," and won the best student paper award. That is a hat-trick for him: AMS research grant, AMS poster award, AMS paper award. Way to go John! John's research was funded by NSF thru BivAToL.

The meeting was a great success, and Gary, Paul, Amanda, and everyone in the Malacology Department at the ANSP should be proud.


Diane Shasteen, Kevin Cummings & Alison Price with their awards from the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting.21-23 February 2012 -- American Fisheries Society in Illinois. INHS mussel folks KSC, Jeremy Tiemann, Sarah Bales, Alison Price, and Diane Shasteen attended the 50th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society at Starved Rock Lodge 21-23 February 2012. Three papers and a poster were presented:

  1. Sarah Bales, Alison Price, Diane Shasteen: An inquiry of juvenile-adult mussel relationships in Illinois.
  2. Alison Price, Kevin Cummings, Sarah Bales, Diane Shasteen: Investigating Mussel Communities in Illinois: Expansions, Contractions, and Distractions.
  3. Diane Shasteen, Sarah Bales, Alison Price: Investigating Mussel Communities in Illinois Streams. (poster).
  4. Jeremy Tiemann, Robert Szafoni, Joe Kath, and Kevin Cummings: Reintroduction of the federally endangered northern riffleshell, Epioblasma rangiana in Illinois.

In addition, the mussel folks were front and center garnering awards from the 2011 Illinois AFS Meeting: the best professional paper went to Alison Price (her second in the past three years – take that fish heads) with co-authors, Sarah Bales & Diane Shasteen for her talk entitled Timed searches of freshwater mussels: what do samplers learn by the hour? and the best poster award went to Diane Shasteen with co-authors Sarah Bales & Alison Price for "Mega" mussels making "spectacles" of themselves in the Cache River. As part of the celebration of 50 years of IL AFS, it was announced that in the entire history of Illinois AFS meetings that the INHS has given the most talks. Jeremy Tiemann led the INHS scientists in that regard with 17 presentations.


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