Research in the 11th hour: Snail Collecting and Egg Laying


With my student research grant I set out to test the inhibitory effects of mud snails on eelgrass in the context of climate change. Specifically, I wanted to see if mud snails change their oviposition preferences with increasing temperature. Two weeks ago my advisor and I went to Cape Charles on the eastern shore of VA to collect mud snails. While there, I noticed something interesting. Mud snails laid all over an oak leaf that fell into the intertidal. Mud snails typically show a strong preference for eelgrass which is an angiosperm. Because oak trees are also angiosperms it would be interesting to test if mud snails can distinguish between the two. After we returned from Cape Charles, we brought the snails into the lab and heated them up to warmer temperatures to cue their laying. Now I’ve set up a system to give mud snails the choice of a substrates and measure their laying preferences. I’m excited to measure to continue forward with this project during my last couple weeks at W&M.