Mussel Woman: Biologist Passes Along Pearls Of Wisdom
Biologist Janet Clayton has studied freshwater mussels for much of her 30-year career. Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource
Janet Clayton is standing thigh-deep in a back channel of the Elk River. Clad in a wetsuit and knee pads, the silver-haired biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources reaches into a bright orange mesh bag submerged in water.
Inside are a half dozen mussels she plucked from the rocky river bottom.
“This is called a long solid,” Clayton says. An earthy colored shell about the size of a computer mouse sits in the palm of her hand. “As it gets older it gets really long.”
Her bag also includes a pocketbook mussel, wavy-rayed lampmussel, and kidneyshell.
The biologically diverse waterways of the Ohio Valley are home to more than 100 species of freshwater mussels. Each can filter five to 10 gallons of water daily. But pollution, land use change, and a changing climate threaten their very existence. They’re among the most endangered animals in the United States.
Read entire article here: https://www.wvpublic.org/post/mussel-woman-biologist-passes-along-pearls-wisdom-about-threatened-mussels#stream/0