University of Vermont

Virtual Field Study


Predation and Evolution:

    Statistics demonstrate that Astarte and Anadara  evolve over time.  Subsequent research by Dr. Kelley explored what increasing shell thickness and internal volume might represent, in terms of adaptation to an environmental stress.  Her work ("The effect of predation intensity on rate of evolution of five Miocene bivalves," Historical Biology, 1991, vol. 5, pp. 65-78) suggests that changing shell thickness and internal volume is a co-evolutionary process associated with predation by Turridae (marine snails).   Through the preferential consumption by boring snails of thinner shelled organisms (with less internal volume), thicker-shelled bivalves were able to survive and reproduce.  Over many generations, as more thicker-shelled bivalves reproduced, the entire population of Astarte and Anadara mollusks within the Salisbury Embayment were characterized by this increase in shell thickness and volume. 
Bore Hole

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