Presentation Title

Snail Trails: Use of New Technology to Discover How Far Intertidal Snails Disperse and Where They Live

Presenter Information

Ainslie McLeod

Location

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Start Date

18-3-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

18-3-2016 6:00 PM

Abstract

This is the first use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to discover how far intertidal snails move per day, how widely they disperse towards other populations, and which habitats they use throughout the summer. RFID technology, which uses small passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags, allows a researcher to detect individual snails even when they are hidden from view. The specific goals of this study were to determine: 1) the effectiveness of using RFID to study snail behaviour, 2) how far the snails travel each day, 3) how far the snails disperse over the summer, contributing to gene flow, and 4) which microhabitats are used most often by the snails. This research was conducted on the intertidal snail, Nucella ostrina, near the Bamfield Marine Sciences Center. In summer 2015, I attached one 12 mm glass-encased PIT tag to each of 64 snails and located their position in the intertidal zone daily using an RFID reader. PIT tags had no detectable effect on snail movement or survival; thus, using RFID technology appears to be an effective technique for tagging snails to study their behavior. Intertidal snails moved very little each day, which led to limited dispersal ability over the summer. Consequently, snails may have experienced limited gene flow between neighboring populations. In addition, intertidal snails occupied a variety of hidden microhabitats throughout the summer, which made them undetectable to the human eye without the use of RFID technology.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Louis Gosselin

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Mar 18th, 12:00 PM Mar 18th, 6:00 PM

Snail Trails: Use of New Technology to Discover How Far Intertidal Snails Disperse and Where They Live

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

This is the first use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to discover how far intertidal snails move per day, how widely they disperse towards other populations, and which habitats they use throughout the summer. RFID technology, which uses small passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags, allows a researcher to detect individual snails even when they are hidden from view. The specific goals of this study were to determine: 1) the effectiveness of using RFID to study snail behaviour, 2) how far the snails travel each day, 3) how far the snails disperse over the summer, contributing to gene flow, and 4) which microhabitats are used most often by the snails. This research was conducted on the intertidal snail, Nucella ostrina, near the Bamfield Marine Sciences Center. In summer 2015, I attached one 12 mm glass-encased PIT tag to each of 64 snails and located their position in the intertidal zone daily using an RFID reader. PIT tags had no detectable effect on snail movement or survival; thus, using RFID technology appears to be an effective technique for tagging snails to study their behavior. Intertidal snails moved very little each day, which led to limited dispersal ability over the summer. Consequently, snails may have experienced limited gene flow between neighboring populations. In addition, intertidal snails occupied a variety of hidden microhabitats throughout the summer, which made them undetectable to the human eye without the use of RFID technology.