Posted: Nov 15 2010

Mikkelsen, Paula M.

Co-author of the recent book Seashells of Southern Florida – Bivalves (Mikkelsen, P.M., and R.Bieler. 2008. Princeton University Press. Princeton, N.J.).

Dr. Paula Mikkelsen studies the systematics and biodiversity of marine mollusks, known collectively as “seashells.” She specializes in two groups: shelled opisthobranch snails (or “bubble snails”) and bivalves (including clams, scallops, mussels, and pearl oysters). One of her primary interests is describing the soft anatomy of mollusks, many of which are only known, even in these days of molecular biology, from the empty shells they leave behind. Characteristics discovered through photography, dissection, and histology are then subjected to phylogenetic analysis to shed light on the evolutionary relationships of living mollusks. Dr. Mikkelsen has also conducted systematics-based biotic inventories in the Indian River Lagoon along eastern Florida, the Bahamas, and most extensively the Florida Keys. Dr. Mikkelsen received her B.S. in biology from Bates College and her Ph.D. from Florida Institute of Technology in 1994. She was Assistant Curator of Malacology at the Delaware Museum of Natural History and joined the American Museum of Natural History in 1997. A member of several professional Editorial Boards and a council member of the international malacological society, Unitas Malacologica, Dr. Mikkelsen is Co-Curator of the upcoming renovation of the Museum’s Hall of Ocean Life.

Dr. Mikkelsen is a contributor to The Assembling the Tree of Life: Bivalvia project (BivAToL)