"Biting the snorkel mouthpiece, I submerged my head through a layer of crisp-edged leaves and into another world.” So begins Abbie Gascho Landis’ discovery of an Alabama creek—and the freshwater mussels who call it home. Ranging in size from thumbnail to dinner plate, freshwater mussels have been filtering our rivers, streams, and creek beds for millions of years, and, as Landis learns, have much to teach us about ecology, freshwater systems, and our relationship to the natural world.

Immersion: The Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels is a breathtaking journey into the world of these important creatures. In it, veterinarian and award-winning writer Landis explores the hidden lives of mussels in our rivers and streams—and asks whether our capacity to love these alien creatures can power us to protect freshwater for humans and nature alike. Check out an excerpt from the book below to learn why it's been praised as "nature writing at its best" (E.O. Wilson), an "eloquent treatise" (Nature), and a "lyrical love letter to the imperiled freshwater mussel" (Science).