Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Prehistoric decline in freshwater mussels coincident with the advent of maize agricultureAuthor(s): Evan Peacock; Wendell Haag; Melvin Warren
Source: Conservation Biology, Pages 547–551. Volume 19, No. 2
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (114 KB)
DescriptionDuring late prehistory, high population densities and intensive agricultural practices of Native American societies had profound effects on the pre-Columbian landscape. The degree to which Native American land use affected aquatic ecosystems is unknown. Freshwater mussels are particularly sensitive harbingers of modern-day ecosystem deterioration.We used data from prehistoric Native American shell middens to examine prehistoric trends in abundance of freshwater mussels of the genus Epioblasma in North America during the last 5000 years. The relative abundance of Epioblasma declined steadily during this period, a result that could be explained either by an increase in human impacts to streams or by long-term climatic changes unrelated to human activities. The rate of decline of Epioblasma increased significantly, however, after the advent of largescale maize agriculture in the southeastern United States about 1000 years before the present. Our results suggest that human land-use activities in prehistory caused changes in freshwater mussel communities that were lower in magnitude but similar in direction to changes caused by recent activities.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationPeacock, Evan; Haag, Wendell, R; Warren, Melvin, L., Jr. 2005. Prehistoric decline in freshwater mussels coincident with the advent of maize agriculture. Conservation Biology, Pages 547–551. Volume 19, No. 2
Keywordsepioblasma, freshwater diversity, prehistoric human impacts
- Characterization of the maize lipoxygenase gene family in relation to aflatoxin accumulation resistance
- How to build multifunctional agricultural landscapes in the U.S corn belt: add perennials and partnerships
- genome-wide association and metabolic pathway analysis of corn earworm resistance in maize
XML: View XML