January 20, 2013

Sunday Science Snippet

I've decided to add a new component to my blog - a little insight each week (or so) to some of the research me and my colleagues tackle every day at our research institution. The plan is to keep it short and sweet, but hopefully pique your interest for learning more!

The Florida Apple Snail - It's All For the Birds

The Florida apple snail is the largest native freshwater snail in Florida and gets it's name because of the rounded shape of the shell. Although only a few inches big, these snails are a major food source for several species of bird including the endangered snail kite.

Unfortunaley changes in water levels (natural and man-made droughts and floods) have had a negative impact on the snail populations in the past decade. With only 600 birds estimated to be left in the state, it is a priority to restore their habitit and that includes feeding them snails!

This is where we come in. For several years, we have been researching ways to culture the snail in captivity (aquaculture). This includes figuring out what kind of tanks to use, food to feed, and water quality requirments needed to that they will lay healthy eggs in captivity. 

In short, we have been successful with our project and have developed the techniques needed to culture the snails for restoration purposes. You can find out more about the project and watch a snail laying eggs (it's cool, I promise!) on our website

And now you can help me count the number of eggs this female laid in the tank!

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