College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
These researchers are reconstructing the evolutionary history of Unionid mussels using phylogenomics. Unionids are freshwater mussels found throughout the world, but the center of diversity is in North America. These animals are of great ecological and conservation concern. They are filter feeders and remove a substantial amount of algae and suspended detritus in the rivers and lakes where they are numerous. Unfortunately many species are endangered due to habitat destruction and over-harvesting. These animals are very difficult to identify based on morphology and reconstruction of their phylogeny has proceeded slowly. Thus phylogenomic methods provide the best opportunity to resolve evolutionary relationships and solve questions of species identity.