Agile Producers and Consumers

What you see in this panorama is the large numbers of mud snail that come out at low tide to feed on dead plants and animals. Periwinkle snails migrate up and down the stalks of sea oats all day long in harmony with the incoming and outgoing tides. They each have an important role in cleaning filtering, and replenishing the waters of the sound. How are they similar or different from the snails around you?

Benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms live in the sediment and are called infauna, some are affixed to the surface of the sediment and are referred to as epibenthos, and some move around on the surface of the sediments and are called mobile epibenthos. Benthic animals display a variety of feeding mechanisms. They can for example ingest sediments (worms), filter food from the water column (clams), feed upon other live organisms (predatory snails), and scavenge upon dead animal remains (crabs).


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