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Last Day

February 25, 2011

It rained hard early this morning and was accompanied by heavy winds. After the sun came up the clouds disappeared and today became bright and warm. This is our last full day to work on the periwinkle snail taxonomy. It is a great help to have all of the historical literature with the original species descriptions scanned and saved as PDF files as well as the pictures of most of the named species. It is a great aid to have the internet and access to old journals and volumes available, not having to work only in a major mollusk library like the Smithsonian Institution, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia or the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. We are thus able to compare the museum specimens with the original descriptions and figures. This week we were able to edit about 38 percent of the species accounts.

Snail Crew at AABC
Left to right: Dr. Paul Johnson, Director of the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center; Jeff Garner, Biologist, Mussel Management, Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources; Dr. Ellen Strong, Research Zoologist, Dept. of Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian Institution; Art Bogan, Curator of Aquatic Invertebrates, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Thomas Tarpley, artist & photographer, Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center

Each species account takes different amounts of time. Some are very simple and clear and require little or no time. On the other hand, some accounts are overly convoluted and complex, requiring a lot of effort to understand and clarify. These are the species names that are the most exciting and challenging.

We took some time off this afternoon to have a group picture of the five people involved in the periwinkle snail project in front of the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center.

Tomorrow, I plan to leave early and stop in Cleveland, Tennessee to visit the daughter of Herbert D. Athearn and to visit the former home of the Museum of Fluviatile Mollusks. Herb kindly donated his huge collection of freshwater clams and snails to the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh in 2007.  He passed away January 9, 2011 at age 87.

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