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Biology faculty presents, publishes on freshwater mussel research

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dr. Chris Barnhart, professor of biology, recently presented new research in the field of freshwater mussel conservation and research, which has been his primary research focus for many years.

Barnhart and former graduate student Megan Bradley taught a course titled “Biology and Conservation of Freshwater Mussels” in August at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. The course attracted professionals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corp. of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency.

Barnhart also gave a presentation on host relationships of native freshwater mussels at the International Meeting on Biology and Conservation in Braganza, Portugal in September.

“Freshwater mussels are important in river conservation efforts worldwide,” Barnhart said. “Historically the European pearl mussel was harvested for pearls, and many species of North American mussels were harvested for shells used in button manufacturing. In modern times, the focus has shifted from exploitation to conservation, and endangered mussel species serve as indicators of water quality and ecosystem integrity. The protection of mussel habitats is a means to guide the protection of river ecosystems.”

Barnhart contributed to multiple research projects published in 2012, including “A Guide to Missouri’s Freshwater Mussels” (Missouri Department of Conservation), “Partial Life-Cycle and Acute Toxicity of Perfluoroalkyl Acids to Freshwater Mussels” (Environmental Toxicology) and “Spatial and Temporal Trends of Freshwater Mussel Assemblages in the Meramec River Basin, Missouri, USA” (Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management).

For more information, contact Barnhart at (417) 836-5166.

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College of Natural and Applied Sciences
The College of Natural and Applied Sciences incorporates more than 20 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs along with one cooperative program offered through a partnership with Missouri S&T. The academic departments that make up the college include: biology; chemistry; computer science; engineering; geography, geology and planning; hospitality and restaurant administration; mathematics; and physics, astronomy and materials science. Students have the opportunity for intense hands-on research and internships through a number of outreach and research centers and work alongside faculty who are producing cutting-edge research in their fields.

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