Immersion: The Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels (Hardcover)

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"This is nature writing at its best." --E.O. Wilson

"Eloquent treatise...Landis's book is as much call to action as paean to mesmerizing molluscs." --Nature

"Rich, accurate, and moving." --New Scientist

"A lyrical love letter to the imperiled freshwater mussel." --Science

Abbie Gascho Landis first fell for freshwater mussels while submerged in an Alabama creek, her pregnant belly squeezed into a wetsuit. After an hour of fruitless scanning, a mussel materialized from the rocks--a little spectaclecase, herself pregnant, filtering the river water through a delicate body while her gills bulged with offspring. In that moment of connection, Landis became a mussel groupie, obsessed with learning more about the creatures' hidden lives. She isn't the only fanatic; the shy mollusks, so vital to the health of rivers around the world, have a way of inspiring unusual devotion.

In Immersion, Landis brings readers to a hotbed of mussel diversity, the American Southeast, to seek mussels where they eat, procreate, and, too often, perish. Accompanied often by her husband, a mussel scientist, and her young children, she learned to see mussels on the creekbed, to tell a spectaclecase from a pigtoe, and to worry what vanishing mussels--70 percent of North American species are imperiled--will mean for humans and wildlife alike. In Immersion, Landis shares this journey, traveling from perilous river surveys to dry streambeds and into laboratories where endangered mussels are raised one precious life at a time.

Mussels have much to teach us about the health of our watersheds if we step into the creek and take a closer look at their lives. In the tradition of writers like Terry Tempest Williams and Sy Montgomery, Landis gracefully chronicles these untold stories with a veterinarian's careful eye and the curiosity of a naturalist. In turns joyful and sobering, Immersion is an invitation to see rivers from a mussel's perspective, a celebration of the wild lives visible to those who learn to search.

About the Author


Abbie Gascho Landis is a writer, veterinarian, and naturalist. She has won Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies 2015 Essay Award, an Arthur DeLong Writing Award, and was a finalist for the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award. Landis holds a bachelor's degree in English and biology from Goshen College and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from The Ohio State University. Her writing has been published in Pinchpenny Press, Full Grown People, and Paste Magazine.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781610918077
ISBN-10: 161091807X
Publisher: Island Press
Publication Date: April 13th, 2017
Pages: 256
Language: English