Director of the Great Lakes Center
SUNY Buffalo State
Buffalo, New York, United States
Alexander Karatayev is the current Director of the Great Lakes Center and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Geology at University at Buffalo. His research interests include the biodiversity, conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems, the ecology, biology, parasitology and spread of aquatic invasive species and their role in aquatic ecosystems, the diversity, biology, and ecology of benthic communities, and the diversity, distribution, and conservation of native mussels (unionids). His outstanding research has resulted in more than 100 publications and more than 30 oral presentations. He also was awarded the Stephen F. Austin State University Faculty Achievement Award in Research.
Mollusk Specialist Group (IUCN/SSC)
Aquatic Ecology and Evolution Laboratory
CIIMAR - Porto University, Portugal
Manuel Lopes-Lima works at the Aquatic Ecology and Evolution Laboratory of CIIMAR - Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Portugal. He is currently the (IUCN/SSC) Coordinator of the Red List Authority on Freshwater Bivalves within the Mollusk Specialist Group. His research interests are related with the global conservation of freshwater mussels including phylogeny, genetic diversity and ecophysiology. He is also an active promoter of international research efforts around this faunistic group being one of the co-founders of these meetings among other actions. He is actually involved in international conservation projects in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, and Malaysia.
Oklahoma Biological Survey and Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma, United States
Caryn Vaughn holds the Presidential Professor of Biology, in the Oklahoma Biological Survey and Department of Biology at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on the ecology and conservation biology of streams, in particular the functional roles of freshwater mussels and in quantifying the ecosystem services provided by stream organisms. For her outstanding research she received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society. She was also honored for “singular accomplishments and long-term contributions that have advanced the conservation and science of freshwater mollusks at a national and international level.” This is the highest honor that this society gives, and Dr. Vaughn is the first woman to have received the award.
Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Mollusks
Center for Biodiversity, Illinois Natural History Survey
Illinois, United States
As the Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Mollusks at the Center for Biodiversity, Illinois Natural History Survey, Cummings is a renowned expert on mussels, and their protection and conservation. For decades, he has monitored mussels throughout Illinois, the Midwest, and around the world. Recently, Cummings undertook an effort to reintroduce threatened and endangered mussels to the Middle Fork and Salt Fork rivers, a project that is seeing extraordinary results. Beyond his groundbreaking field work, Cummings has a special talent as an ambassador for these overlooked organisms, continuously engaging in public education regarding the value of mussels as sentinels and indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. His research interests are in the areas of conservation, systematics and ecology of freshwater mollusks and fishes and the protection of freshwater habitats; primarily streams. Cummings received the Outstanding Public Servant award for a distinguished career spent researching and fostering critically important freshwater mussels, often called “the livers of the rivers.”