HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Surprising killer of southeastern salt marshes: Common sea snails

Periwinkles, the spiral-shelled snails commonly found along rocky U.S. shorelines, play a primary role in the unprecedented disappearance of salt marsh in the southeastern states, according to new research published in Science.

Based on extensive field studies, the work challenges six decades of salt marsh science. Ecologists have long thought that stressed soil too much salt, not enough oxygen was the main killer of this critical marine habitat.

But Brian Silliman, a Brown University research fellow and a University of Florida assistant professor, said drought-stressed soils pave the way for predatory periwinkles that spread fungal disease as they graze on cordgrass.

"Snails can transform healthy marsh to mudflats in a matter of months," said Silliman, lead author of the Science paper. "This finding represents a huge shift in the way we see salt marsh ecology. For years, scientists thought marsh die-off was simply a 'bottom-up' problem related solely to soil conditions. We found that the trouble also comes from the top down. Drought makes the marsh vulnerable, then the snails move in."

Thousands of acres of salt marsh have disappeared from South Carolina to Texas since 2000, according to several scientific studies. In Louisiana alone, more than 100,000 acres of marsh were severely damaged between June 2000 and September 2001. This drastic decline poses a serious threat to the ecology and economy of the southeastern seaboard and the Gulf Coast. Salt marshes serve as nursery grounds that support commercial fisheries, protect coastline from storm-induced floods, and filter fresh water before it flows out to sea.

Mark Bertness, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown and a co-author of the paper, said a better understanding of the causes of salt marsh loss will point to better ways to protect them.

"Loss of blue crabs and turtles, which prey on periwinkles, allows the snails to flourish," Be
'"/>

Contact: Wendy Lawton
Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
15-Dec-2005


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Surprising new species of light-harvesting bacterium discovered in Yellowstone
2. Surprising origin of cells internal highways
3. Surprising airbag hazards among research findings at hearing safety conference
4. Surprising symbiosis: Glassy-winged sharpshooter eats with friends
5. Surprising genetic differences id-ed in southern house mosquito
6. Growing lymph vessels with macrophages? Surprisingly, yes!
7. Surprisingly complex behaviors appear to be hard-wired in the primate brain
8. Surprising study reveals how cancer-causing protein activates
9. Aphids make chemical weapons to fight off killer ladybirds
10. Revealed -- Mosquito genes that could be controlling the spread of killer viruses
11. Common cancer gene sends death order to tiny killer

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Surprising killer southeastern salt marshes Common sea snails

(Date:4/17/2014)... If a restaurant ... he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like ... is enough to make restaurant owners pay up. Similarly, mafia-like ... in other birds, nests. If the host birds throw the ... destroying the entire nest. Consequently, it is beneficial for hosts ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... IPCC meeting painted a stark warning on the possible ... a greenhouse effect 32 times that of carbon dioxide. ... humic substances act as fully regenerable electron acceptors which ... in wetlands instead of being released to the atmosphere. ... disrupted it may enter into a vicious cycle to ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... wild animals and plant life, but there,s an invisible ... in the soil, decomposing organic matter and releasing carbon ... fungi play in ecological systems, their identities have only ... generated a genetic map of more than 10,000 species ... this week in the Proceedings of the National ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Fear of the cuckoo mafia 2Fear of the cuckoo mafia 3Methane climate change risk suggested by proof of redox cycling of humic substances 2Stanford biologists help solve fungal mysteries 2Stanford biologists help solve fungal mysteries 3
(Date:1/15/2014)... Hills, IL (PRWEB) January 15, 2014 ... to find hard-working items for the lab, from fluid ... as Guaranteed-in-Stock (GIS)—ready to ship when you order. ... Masterflex® Peristaltic Pumps , from the L/S® model for ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... MINNEAPOLIS , Jan. 15, 2014 ­ RedBrick ... and behavior change technology, today announces that EmblemHealth ... insurer and wellness company, is now providing the RedBrick ... digital coaching program, to all of its members. EmblemHealth ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... 15, 2014 More than 5 million ... 1 in 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or ... jaw-dropping figures have shocked many Americans into looking for ... prevent these tragic age-related cognitive disorders. Jonathan Weisman, president ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... January 15, 2014 DTS Language Services, ... Online Web Portal for Life Science organizations who need document ... the subject matter of their documents in advance with a ... reduce time-to-delivery of translations, often a critical factor in clinical ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Cole-Parmer Begins 2014 with the Release of Preferred Solutions 2EmblemHealth Selects RedBrick Health to Power its Next-Generation Health Engagement and Behavior Change System 2EmblemHealth Selects RedBrick Health to Power its Next-Generation Health Engagement and Behavior Change System 3Biohack Pure Offers 5 Tips for Increasing Memory in 2014 2DTS Improves Efficiency for Life Science Document Translations 2
Cached News: