Freshwater mussels have a particularly unusual system of reproduction. Males release their sperm into the water with the hope that a nearby female will siphon them up to fertilize her eggs.
Here’s the thing about extinctions: They are very rarely witnessed. The last members of a species in the wild tend to go quietly into the night with no one to witness their deaths.
So Toledo and environs goes through a terrible water crisis when nutrient-rich water from farms, lawns, and other nonpoint sources flows into Lake Erie.
Artists have long used odd things in their work – Marcel Duchamp’s urinal on a pedestal comes to mind – but even when unusual ingredients are less obvious, they can be present.