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Nathan A. Johnson

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Megalonaias is the most geographically widespread genus of the subfamily Ambleminae and is distributed across much of the eastern half of North America, from Minnesota to Nicaragua. Despite the large geographic distribution, the species-level diversity of Megalonaias is quite depauperate (2 spp.), suggesting the genus may not be constrained by the same physical, ecological, or physiological barriers that limit dispersal in many other amblemines. However, this hypothesis is contingent on the assumption that the current taxonomy of Megalonaiasaccurately reflects its evolutionary history, which remains incompletely understood due to the marginalization of Mesoamerican populations in systematic research. Using one mitochondrial...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Hydrobiologia
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Objectively delimiting species boundaries remains an important challenge in systematics and becomes urgent when unresolved taxonomy complicates conservation and recovery efforts. We examined species boundaries in the imperiled freshwater mussel genus Cyclonaias(Bivalvia: Unionidae) using morphometrics, molecular phylogenetics, and multispecies coalescent models to help guide pending conservation assessments and legislative decisions. Congruence across multiple lines of evidence indicated that current taxonomy overestimates diversity in the C. pustulosa species complex. The only genetically and morphologically diagnosable species in the C. pustulosa species complex were C. pustulosa and C. succissa and we consider...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Scientific Reports
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Stomach contents analysis (SCA) provides a snap-shot observation of a consumer's diet. Interpretation of SCA data can be complicated by many factors, including variation in gastric residence times and digestion rates among prey taxa. Although some SCA methods are reported to efficiently remove all stomach contents, the effectiveness of these techniques has rarely been tested for large irregular shaped prey with hard exoskeletons. We used a controlled feeding trial to estimate gastric residency time and decomposition rate of a large crustacean prey item, the Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus), which is consumed by American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), an abundant apex predator in coastal habitats of the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Copeia
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We present a revised list of freshwater mussels (order Unionida, families Margaritiferidae and Unionidae) of the United States and Canada, incorporating changes in nomenclature and systematic taxonomy since publication of the most recent checklist in 1998. We recognize a total of 298 species in 55 genera in the families Margaritiferidae (one genus, five species) and Unionidae (54 genera, 293 species). We propose one change in the Margaritiferidae: the placement of the formerly monotypic genus Cumberlandia in the synonymy of Margaritifera. In the Unionidae, we recognize three new genera, elevate four genera from synonymy, and place three previously recognized genera in synonymy. We recognize for the first time two...
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Surveys of freshwater mussel populations are used frequently to inform conservation decisions by providing information about the status and distribution of species. It is generally accepted that not all mussels or species are collected during surveys, and incomplete detection of individuals and species can bias data and can affect inferences. However, considerably less attention has been given to the potential effects of species misidentification. To evaluate the prevalence of and potential reasons for species misidentification, we conducted a laboratory-based identification exercise and quantified the relationships between mussel species characteristics, observer experience, and misidentification rate. We estimated...
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