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Word Count: 509
Usually scientists studying biodiversity must climb mile high mountains or trudge through the thickest forests in Africa but Michael Hoggarth only has to take a dip in the local creek Michael is involved in the study of fresh water mussels When Michael puts on his hip waders and heads into the Killback Creek in Ohio he is on the lookout for one thing in particular the purple catspaw Only two populations of purple catspaw were known of previous to Mr Hoggarths amazing discovery With his findings he has increased the suspected population of these mussels by at least seventeen percent Also the other to colonies of purple catspaw seem to not be breeding but this newly found populace is Hoggarths search for more encampments of purple catspaw is not just the boring story of mussels as it seems The diversity of the mussels in Killback Creek and the remarkable elusiveness of the purple catspaw contribute to the most important ecological question of our time The question being is the diversity of life disappearing at an enormous rate The purple catspaw belongs to the family of mussels known as unionoids which once made up over half the worlds species of fresh water mussels These unionoids adapted to a particular ecosystem and were therefor limited to one area When humans moved in they literally trashed all but a few of the unionoids living areas The waters became polluted this caused the unionoids larvaes food source to all but disappear Also the introduction of the European zebra mussels into our fresh waters has caused the native mussels great harm Since the mussels were unable to adapt their numbers fell greatly and now most freshwater mussels are on the endangered species list If the mussels numbers decrease at its current rate then 54 of them will have gone extinct within the next century Mussels are not the only species dying out many more freshwater species are threatened too
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