To escape the inevitable cold that accompanies autumn in
New England, students and professors
in the Ecology of Atlantic Shores traveled to Bermuda to further their study of coastal environments. After half a
week of introduction to the flora, fauna, and landscapes of Bermuda,
students (on rented mopeds) embarked on their separate research
While at Spittal Pond, a nature preserve in Bermuda, I
noticed hundreds of tiny black snails called Batillaria minima. It was a hot, sunny day and http://www.jaxshells.org/617hh.jpg
many of the snails were aggregated around rocks. Because the tide pool was not receiving any input from the ocean and there was not much shade available, the water in the tide pool was quite warm. From these observations, I postulated that the snails were aggregating around the rocks in an effort to keep their temperature cooler. This pattern is similar to aggregation patterns seen in Littorina unifasciata. This species aggregates to decrease the effects of dessication. Because the aggregations were not uniform, I wondered what types of rocks the snails might prefer. My experiment used rocks of different shapes, sizes and colors. I left them for 24 hours to see which rocks the snails preferred and how the rocks would affect their aggregation patterns. After three days of observations of snail aggregations on the five rocks, I found that the heaviest congregation of snails was under the rocks. The B. minima were found most often on top of darker rocks and in heavier concentration (proportionate to size) around small rocks.