Numlock Sunday: Sharon Levy on the magic of mussels
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition. Each week, I'll sit down with an author or a writer behind one of the stories covered in a previous weekday edition for a casual conversation about what they wrote.
This week, I spoke to Sharon Levy who wrote “The hidden strengths of freshwater mussels” in the wonderful Knowable Magazine. Here's what I wrote about it:
There are 270 North American freshwater mussel species, or at least there were, but then a surge in the construction of dams from the 1920s through 1980s jeopardized or destroyed thousands of miles of habitat for the filter feeders. This has had disastrous consequences, with 30 varieties going extinct in the past century and 95 becoming endangered or threatened. Only about a quarter of those species are secure, and this is bad for the ecosystem as a whole, given the essential role that these mussels play in cleaning the waters. The Upper Mississippi’s population of mussels is fairly healthy, and cleans 14 billion gallo…