21 April 2012

How long is the shell of Batillaria minima?

The intertidal snail Batillaria minima has been the subject of numerous posts on this blog (for example, check out this and this). Batillaria minima inhabits tidal flats with low rocks often in dense populations. At low tide, snails become emersed and large numbers of them can be collected easily. These characteristics make the species a suitable subject for different studies. So I've been collecting data on various aspects of the biology of this species during vacation trips in Florida since the early 2000s. One short paper comparing shell heights of large samples measured in 2007 and 2009 has just come out. A pdf copy is available. I am hoping to put out additional papers about B. minima in the future.

01 April 2012

Bootleg transactions of the 14th MAM meeting

The 14th meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Malacologists took place yesterday at the Delaware Museum of Natural History (DMNH) in Wilmington, Delaware. There were about 35 attendants, one of the highest numbers in recent years.

Here are the speakers in the order they spoke and the not-more-than-two-sentence summaries of their talks.

  • Marla Coppolino, a talented illustrator of mollusks, explained how she prepares illustrations for manuscripts and presented examples of her work.

  • Makiri Sei talked about her ongoing project with Gary Rosenberg on the phylogenies of Jamaican Annulariidae and Pleurodontidae.

  • Kaitlin Coolahan presented an introduction to the symbiotic relationship of the bacterium Vibrio fischeri with various squid species. The bacteria live in the light organs of the squids.

  • Liz Shea and Alex Ziegler took turns to highlight the preliminary results of their use of magnetic resonance imaging and micro-computed tomography to study the internal anatomies of cephalopods.

  • Tim Pearce talked about the upcoming relocation of the mollusk collection at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to new quarters. The new steel cabinets that will house the shells are expected to reduce the incidences of Byne's disease caused by acidic vapors leaching from old wooden cabinets.

  • Robert Robertson talked about the teleplanic larvae of marine gastropods, their distributions in the Atlantic and their food. Teleplanic larvae, defined as larvae that spend 3 months or more in the plankton in the open seas, are present in many marine gastropod families.

  • Aydin Örstan presented some preliminary results from his survey (with identification support from Susan Hewitt) of the coastal gastropods and bivalves in the vicinity of the Aegean town of Çeşme in western Turkey.

  • Bradley Stevens talked about the research he and his students are carrying out on the reproductive biology and growth of the whelk Busycotypus canaliculatus. The whelk is being heavily fished off Massachusetts with apparently no concern for the likely collapse of its population in the future.

  • Gary Rosenberg is organizing this year's meeting of the American Malacological Society scheduled for June 16th-21st in Philadelphia/Cherry Hill. Gary presented highlights of the planned activities and pictures of the hotel where the meeting will take place.

  • Francisco Borrero summarized his ideas on the similar color banding patterns observed on the shells of numerous land snail families, including the Camaenidae, Pleurodontidae and Helicidae. Is the underlying process phylogenetics or evolutionary convergence?

  • Megan Paustian presented an outline of the ecology of terrestrial slugs, including their foods, behavior, predators and conservation status.

  • Paul Callomon talked about the history of malacology in Japan in the 1940s and the nomenclatural problems associated with the species descriptions published by the malacologists Kuroda and Kira during that period, especially in the genus Fusinus.

  • Once again I will take this opportunity to thank to Liz Shea, the curator of mollusks at the DMNH and Leslie Skibinski, the collection manager, for organizing this wonderful meeting. I am already looking forward to next year's gathering.

    Participants, with only a few missing, posing outside the DMNH after the meeting.

    The bootleg transactions of the 13th MAM meeting are here