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Burlakova L.E.,Buffalo State College | Burlakova L.E.,State University of New York at Buffalo | Campbell D.,The Paleontological Research Institution | Karatayev A.Y.,Buffalo State College | Barclay D.,7219 FM 2781
Aquatic Biosystems | Year: 2012

Background: Freshwater bivalves in the order Unionoida are considered to be one of the most endangered groups of animals in North America. In Texas, where over 60% of unionids are rare or very rare, 15 species have been recently added to the state's list of threatened species, and 11 are under consideration for federal listing. Due to insufficient survey efforts in the past decades, however, primary data on current distribution and habitat requirement for most of these rare species are lacking, thus challenging their protection and management. Taxonomic identification of endemic species based on shell morphology is challenging and complicates conservation efforts. In this paper we present historic and current distributional data for three rare Texas species, Fusconaia askewi, F. lananensis, and Pleurobema riddellii, collected during our 2003-2011 state-wide surveys and suggest appropriate conservation measures. In addition, we tested the genetic affinities of Fusconaia and similar species collected from eastern Texas and western Louisiana using cox1 and nad1 sequences.Results: We found that F. askewi still inhabits four river basins in eastern and northeastern Texas and can be locally abundant, while P. riddellii was found only in one river basin. Pleurobema riddellii was well-separated from F. askewi and grouped with the P. sintoxia clade. The sequences for F. lananensis were very similar to those for F. askewi, with a maximum difference of just over 1% for nad1 and only 0.7% for cox1, similar to the variation between F. askewi alleles. Except for one low difference (1.55%) with the partial cox1 sequence for F. burkei, all other Fusconaia populations, including those from the Calcasieu drainage, differed by over 2.3% for both genes.Conclusions: Our study suggested that F. lananensis is not a valid species, and it is likely that only one Fusconaia species (F. askewi or its probable senior synonym F. chunii) is currently present in East Texas, thus simplifying conservation efforts. Distribution range of both these regional endemics (F. askewi and P. riddellii) has been reduced in the last 80 years. © 2012 Burlakova et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Henderson J.A.,University of Rochester | Duggan-Haas D.,The Paleontological Research Institution
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences | Year: 2014

Potential development of shale gas presents a complicated and controversial education problem. Research on human learning and our own experiences as educators support the conclusion that traditional, disciplinary-focused educational experiences are insufficient due to the nature of the concepts necessary for understanding the development of shale gas within the energy system as a complex, contextualized phenomenon. Educators engaging in communicating complex phenomena such as shale gas development can also increase sophistication of learner understanding by taking into account the sociocultural and psychological mechanisms that shape one's understanding of the change processes at work. We therefore review an emerging body of research showing that nurturing environmental literacy requires more than the clear explication of evidence, and instead requires interrogating one's existing worldview and comparing alternative options for action, as opposed to analyzing energy options in isolation. We then apply the results of this research to the challenging task of creating meaningful learning experiences and engagement with complex issues such as emerging energy systems and shale gas development in particular. © 2014 AESS.

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