Late Holocene Conservation Baselines for Freshwater Mussels from Three Rivers in Texas

Poster Session
, Steve - Department of Geography, University of North Texas
, Charles - Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas A&M University
, Traci - Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma

Ethnobiologists contribute to conservation biology in increasingly meaningful ways.  One way that paleoethnobiologists are able to provide a unique conservation dataset is through the establishment of conservation baselines for animal communities that were part of human-environment interactions during the last few millennia. Freshwater mussel remains from archaeological sites offer a rich data source for establishing this type of baseline.  We establish conservation baselines for late Holocene mussel (family Unionidae) communities for the Leon, Brazos, and upper Trinity rivers of central and north Texas. These data may 1) lead to greater confidence in existing contemporary data for unionid biogeography; 2) lead to information on whether or not community composition differs between the late Holocene and today; and/or 3) provide a justification for more intensive contemporary surveys.  Such data are relatively easily acquired, are inexpensive to generate, and highly informative for environmental management as premodern baseline data.