Discussion Questions for Immersion
Poster for America’s Wild Read Fall 2022 with head and shoulders image of author and image of book cover for Immersion. Graphics: Richard DeVries/USFWS

This fall, the USFWS Library and our Wild Readers are reading Immersion the Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels by Abbie Gascho Landis, a lyrical piece of nature writing that celebrates the world under the water's surface and invites us to really see the world of freshwater mussels.  We must train our eyes to see the precious lives that too often go unnoticed and learn from these mysterious wild lives. Check out our list of discussion questions for you to think through as you read along with us.

Come join us on Wednesday, November 9, 3 p.m. ET for our book discussion and share your thoughts and perspectives on a few of these questions. Please register in advance for our book discussion. At our book club meetings, we have cultivated a casual atmosphere where we reflect on the reading, answer discussion questions, and enjoy some time together through a conversation on conservation literature.

  1. In your reading what did you learn about freshwater mussels that really surprised you?


  2. Immersion is all about mussels, but it also emphasizes the importance people play too, like Abbie Landis and her husband, who learned to read the river, to tell a pigtoe from a pistolgrip, or Michael Gangloff, who dove in rivers despite risk to survey mussel habitat. What can freshwater mussels teach us about our relationships to others? To the environment? 


  3. Landis gratefully writes, "I think of mussels as I watch the kitchen spigot run." Do you think of mussels as you use clean water? What can mussels teach us about our own water supply and consumption habits?


  4. When faced with complex conservation challenges amid a litany of detrimental effects on critically endangered species like mussels, how do conservationists and biologists cope?


  5. Mussels are an indicator species of water quality and play an important role in rivers by filtering water constantly as they breathe and feed. Their presence in our freshwater bodies indicates healthy water quality as they are especially susceptible to many pollutants and contaminants. Are there other indicator species as excellent as freshwater mussels? 

Brought to you by the USFWS Library, America's Wild Read is a virtual quarterly book club where we aim to inspire you to connect with the outdoors and nature through literature. We hope you will read along with us as we feature various conservation books every quarter - contemporary, traditional, new, and classic. If you want to learn more about America's Wild Read and how to participate email catherine_blalack@fws.gov

Story Tags

Aquatic animals
Aquatic connectivity
Aquatic environment
Fish migration

Recreational Activities