PEET - BIVALVES: Taxonomy on the half-shell

Bivalvia (= Lamellibranchia, Pelecypoda) is a group of great living and fossil diversity, and one of immense economic importance. At the start of this grant project, there were few biologists specializing in investigating bivalve diversity and the largest (and ecologically as well as economically most important) bivalves were among the least understood. In a joint program involving biologists and laboratories from the around the world, Drs. Rüdiger Bieler and Paula M. Mikkelsen, molluscan systematists at The Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, respectively, combined their expertise to train a new generation of bivalve workers and significantly to advance the systematics of the group. The research concentrated on the marine family Veneridae, a group of bivalves with more than 500 living species that form a key component in the world's clam fisheries, and included projects on other recent bivalve groups as well.

The project trained students at the graduate and postdoctoral levels and involved a wide range of approaches and techniques ranging from field collecting and comparative anatomical studies to DNA sequencing. Other educational efforts targeted undergraduate trainees and various audiences that can be reached through web publications and museum programming. Promoting bivalve research worldwide has been an important goal of the project. To make information about the species and associated data available to specialists and non-specialists alike, various bivalve databases and images were developed for electronic web dissemination.

A joint program based at The Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, project dates 1999-2004 (with some aspects extending through 2008), lead by principal investigators Drs. Rüdiger Bieler (FMNH) and Paula M. Mikkelsen (AMNH, now Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York).

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