Georgia Journal of Science


Many studies have measured gastropod shell strength to investigate abiotic interactions and responses to predation. Shells are often preserved before strength is measured, but preservation may affect shell biomechanics, potentially influencing the outcome of these studies. We hypothesized that commonly used preservation methods (ethanol, freezing, and drying) lower shell strength of two pulmonate snails, Physella sp. and Pseudosuccinea columella. Compared to controls, all preservation methods significantly lowered strength for both species, except freezing in Ps. columella. To date, no studies have addressed the effects of preservation on shell strength in freshwater pulmonates. These results suggest that preservation methods should be considered when using shell strength as a response variable in ecological studies. We also provide one of the few direct measurements of shell strength in freshwater snails.


This work was funded by a grant from the University System of Georgia STEM Initiative II Project. We would like to thank Georgia Gwinnett College for lab space and equipment, Peter Sakaris for statistical advice, and Kathryn Zimmermann for discussions about shell chemistry.