Research Blog Series: It's a Snail's World

By Amy Joseph Landon

snailOur research indicates that there are more than 77 species of snails at Bernheim. Why does that matter? Because snails are what we call an indicator species. In essence, snail diversity equals habitat diversity and quality since many animals eat snails. If snails are in abundance, it’s a strong indication that other wildlife is thriving at Bernheim too. It doesn’t stop there; these tiny creatures facilitate the chemical weathering of rocks which transports much needed nutrients to forest organisms. In fact, half of the snails to which Bernheim is home are found only in the soil and are referred to as micro snails, so just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t here. The next time someone talks about dining on escargot, share how important snails are to the ecosystem.

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