Title

Notes on the Use of Wood Refugia by Physella Heterostropha (Say) in a Thermally Disturbed Swamp

Publication Title

Journal of Thermal Biology

Publication Date

10-1989

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1016/0306-4565(89)90002-8

Keywords

thermal pollution, snail, physella heterostropha, refuge, thermal tolerance, behaviour

Disciplines

Biology

Abstract

Physella heterostropha size distributions and densities were measured in Pen Branch delta, a thermally altered swamp of the Savannah River, South Carolina. During cessation of thermal input, measurements were taken in a highly impacted area and more natural area. Of the three substrates sampled, logs, small woody material and benthos, snail density was highest on small pieces of submerged wood and < 20% of the snails on logs were out of the water. Following resumption of thermal input, snail density was four times higher on logs than previously measured. Snails responded to elevated water temperatures by congregating in a narrow band slightly above the water. Snail size did not appear to affect their response. However, the thermal history of the snails influenced their behaviour and survival rates. Logs may be a potential refuge for snails when water temperature are greater greater than 38°C. However, our results indicate that long-term survival in this manner may be impossible.

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