29 October 2007

Bootleg proceedings of the 1st OVUM meeting

The first annual one-day meeting of the Ohio (River) Valley Unified Malacologists (OVUM), organized by Tim Pearce and Charlie Sturm, took place at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh on 27 October 2007. There were 19 participants, 14 of whom gave presentations. Despite the original announcement that there would be no "abstracts, or publications", we were asked to submit a brief abstract during the meeting and were told that they will be published "somewhere". So, before the official version comes out, here is my bootleg version of the speakers and very brief summaries of what I thought they talked about, in order of presentation.

Tim Pearce (CMNH): When a snail dies in a forest and if there is no malacologist around how long does its shell persist? The empty shells of some snails could last for several years.

Charlie Sturm (CMNH): Life and times of Juan Jose Parodiz (1911-2007) who was the curator of mollusks at the Carnegie Museum between 1952 and 1981 and the emeritus curator after that.

Aydin Örstan (CMNH): Stepwise growth in the land snail family Hygromiidae. One of the species mentioned was Trochoidea pyramidata.

Francisco Borrero (Cincinnati Museum of Natural History): Research projects he has been working on, including the ecology of the freshwater mussels in Ohio streams and the systematics and biogeography of South American non-marine mollusks.

Sue Thompson (PA Fish and Boat Commission): Activities of the Three Rivers Ecological Research Center.

Beth Meyer (PA Natural Heritage Program): Results of the survey of the freshwater mussels of Allegheny River. Areas with no signs of dredging had higher species richness and abundances.

Darran Crabtree (The Nature Conservancy): Status of the freshwater mussels in the French Creek Basin in northwest Pennsylvania.

Andy Turner (Clarion University): Behavioral modifications of the freshwater snails Physa acuta and Helisoma trivolvis by their predators (fish and crayfish). If fish are present, the snails use open habitats less and hide under rocks, but if crayfish are present, the snails use open habitats more.

Josh Auld (University of Pittsburgh): Resource allocation plasticity in hermaphrodite snails. In the presence of predatory crayfish, Physa acuta delays reproduction, but increases growth. In the absence of predators, selfing snails start to reproduce several days after the snails with mates do. When crayfish are present, however, this waiting time is eliminated.

Mary Walsh (PA Natural Heritage Program): A database they are creating for survey data.

Rachel Mair (Fish and Wildlife Service): Activities at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery in West Virginia. They are also raising freshwater mussels for releasing into the wild.

Ralph Taylor (Marshall University): Surveys of freshwater mussels and gastropods in the Ohio River where some spots are heavily infested with zebra mussels.

Jerry Lang (CMNH; Butler County Community College): Surveys of the unionid mussels, the populations of which have been going down. He also presented his hypothesis (included here with his permission) that beavers, who are otherwise known to be strict vegetarians, may occasionally eat freshwater mussels.

Bob Winters: Freshwater mussels in the Duck River in Tennessee and the threats they are facing.

The next year's OVUM meeting will be organized by Francisco Borrero at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History.

One of the shy participants at the OVUM meeting.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a very interesting lineup of presentations. I am sorry that I missed it.

Frank Anderson said...

I often forget that I'm only a forty-five minute drive from the Ohio River...maybe I can make it to OVUM next year in Cincy! They need to have at least one cephalopod talk, for crying out loud...