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Back to the Cahaba River

February 24, 2011
Art Bogan in the Cahaba River

Happy as a clam in the Cahaba River

Spent another day talking about periwinkle snails and what has happened to their names. We took a nature break about mid-morning to take Ellen Strong out to the Cahaba River so she could see some of the snails Paul Johnson has been sending her for DNA analyses. We visited four sites. The first one was near the new US 84 bridge just above Centreville. We were able to show her a variety of snails and pick up some good freshwater clam shells, representing about 10 species, for education and the Museum collection. We also visited a site near West Blocton to see a major riffle on the Cahaba River. During late spring the endemic Cahaba Lily is abundant on the shoals at this site. The next site we visited was a low-water cement ford for coal trucks. There are tremendous populations of snails at this site. We also collected a great variety of freshwater clam shells from a muskrat midden along the bank of the river. The clam species present at this site are slightly different than those collected at the first site, which was very near the fall line (the transition from the Valley and Ridge Province to the inner Coastal Plain). Finally, we visited Booth Ford on the Cahaba River where there is another low-water ford. This site is known for a very rare endemic snail found only in the Cahaba River. Our group returned to the lab to process the snails we collected and to write field notes. The fresh air, and the quiet only interrupted by the sounds of the water on the riffles, was really relaxing and soothing. Nothing is better than a good day in the field. We are now continuing to work on the periwinkle snails and their names.

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