Urbanisation impacts abundance (but not richness) of salt marsh molluscs

A great summary by Ben Gooden on Geoff Clarke’s research examining the impact of urbanisation on salt marsh snails. It was a lot of fun hanging out counting snails in the mud, especially along the shores of Lake Illawarra (we saw some weird things). Make sure you head over to Ben’s blog for more interesting ecological posts!

Ben Gooden - Ecological Research

salt marsh impactThe preliminary results are now in: urbanisation at the landward boundary of coastal salt marshes is associated with a two-fold reduction in the density of molluscs inhabiting adjacent coastal salt marsh. Our results found, however, that despite this reduction in overall molluscan abundance, urbanisation had no effect on the number of different mollusc species (i.e. richness) present in adjacent salt marshes.

The overall aim of this project was to examine effects of shoreline urbanisation on the unique molluscan fauna within endangered salt marsh of south-eastern Australia. My student, Geoff Clarke did a stellar job with this project, counting and identifying over 7,500 individual snails from six species, most of which are restricted to salt marsh or similar vegetation that borders estuaries and coastal embayments.

Geoff surveyed 9 ‘urbanised’ and 9 ‘forested’ (which he termed natural) reference sites across three embayments (see accompanying satellite images). Each site consisted of a…

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