News FocusEcology

The Evolutionary Allure of Mussels

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Science  16 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6109, pp. 877
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6109.877

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North America's marvelous variety of mussels is due to a fortuitous combination of geology and climate. Over the past decade, genetic studies have revealed that mussel diversity in North America is even higher than past studies suggested. Widely separated populations that were once lumped into a single species because of their similar shell morphology, for example, are now understood to belong to multiple taxa. That matters if species that were once thought to be widely distributed turn out to have narrow ranges and be imperiled.