Nav: Home

Baby sea snails ride waves into shallower waters, study suggests

August 07, 2018

The warming ocean may cause the larvae of bottom-dwelling snails to hatch earlier in the spring, when waves are larger, potentially impacting their ability to survive and serve as food for other sea creatures.

A Rutgers University-New Brunswick study sheds new light on the sensory organs the snail larvae use to feel - and perhaps even hear - whether the water is turbulent or wavy, and improve their odds of being carried to a good habitat where they can settle down as adults.

The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on two species of snail, both of which live along North America's East Coast: eastern mudsnails (Tritia obsoleta), which live in inlets, and threeline mudsnails (Tritia trivittata), which live in the deeper waters of the continental shelf.

The inlet-dwelling snails more often experience water that is turbulent but not very wavy. The continental shelf-dwelling snails live in a less turbulent, wavier environment.

In experiments, the researchers found that the larvae experienced turbulence as rotation or tilting of the body and sensed waves as acceleration in a straight line. Both signals are detected by a statocyst - a small organ similar to the human inner ear.

The experiments suggest larvae can detect waves as both motion and low-frequency sound, according to lead researcher Heidi L. Fuchs, an associate professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

When the larvae of both species experience turbulence, they respond either by swimming with more effort or by sinking. Waves triggered a similar, stronger reaction and resulted in upward swimming only in the larvae that dwell in the continental shelf. Swimming upward may allow them to use the shoreward drift of the waves to avoid being carried over the open ocean where they would be lost, Fuchs said.

"More than 99 percent of the snail larvae we studied die in transit, partly because they're carried away from any place where they could survive," Fuchs said. "Probably one in 20,000 of these larvae survives through adulthood, so it's critical that survivors wind up in a tolerable habitat."

But climate change complicates things. Over the last few decades, these larvae probably have been hatching earlier and exposed to larger waves, which could push them into shallower, warmer water that is less tolerable to adults. How this affects their population is a subject of a new study.
-end-


Rutgers University

Related Swimming Articles:

More than 1/3 of parents would allow child to be in residential or hotel pool unsupervised
As kids get ready to splash around in pools this summer, some parents may underestimate drowning risks, suggests a new national poll.
Novel technique helps diagnose swimming-induced respiratory condition
Exercise-induced obstruction of the larynx, or voice box, is often a cause of respiratory symptoms in athletes and is particularly prevalent in swimmers.
New approach to measure fluid drag on the body during swimming
University of Tsukuba researchers developed an approach to measure the amount of active drag from the water to which swimmers are subjected.
Simple rule explains complex group swimming patterns
Novel approach to studying coordinated swimming in fish reveals a surprisingly simple rule.
Surprising results found in the swimming mechanism of microorganism-related model
For years, B. Ubbo Felderhof, RWTH Aachen University, has explored the mechanisms fish and microorganisms rely on to propel themselves.
Swimming for science
Researchers have developed the first successful 3-D computer modeling of the motions of zebrafish, which are increasingly the species of choice for biomedical research, particularly neurobehavioral studies that are critical to understanding the brain.
Who needs a body? Not these larvae, which are basically swimming heads
Most animals we study have adult-like bodies early in their development.
Swimming, racquet sports, and aerobics linked to best odds of staving off death
In terms of exercise, swimming, racquet sports, and aerobics seem to be associated with the best odds of staving off death from any cause and from heart disease and stroke, in particular, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Synchronized swimming: How startled fish shoals effectively evade danger
As panic spreads, an entire shoal (collective) of fish responds to an incoming threat in a matter of seconds, seemingly as a single body, to change course and evade a threatening predator.
Mystery of tropical human parasite swimming solved by Stanford researchers
Bioengineers combined live observation, mathematical insights and robots to reveal the movement of parasitic larvae that cause schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease affecting millions of people worldwide.

Related Swimming Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...