A hierarchical classification of freshwater mussel diversity in North America
Aim North America harbours the most diverse freshwater mussel fauna on Earth. This fauna has high endemism at the continental scale and within individual river systems. Previous faunal classifications for North America were based on intuitive, subjective assessments of species distributions, primarily the occurrence of endemic species, and do not portray continent-wide patterns of faunal similarity. The aim of this study is to provide an analytical portrayal of patterns of mussel diversity in a hierarchical framework that informs the biogeographical history of the fauna.