Analysis of Kelp Quality and Starvation on Grazing Behavior of T. tridentata

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Armour, Gabrielle
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this experiment was to determine if Tegula tridentata exhibit awareness of the quality of kelp (Lessonia trabeculata) they consume, and, if so, what quality of kelp is preferred. A two-and-a-half-month study that consisted of three separate trials took place over Chile’s winter (June - August 2016). Arenas were set up to introduce individuals of T. tridentata that had previously been starved at three different levels to kelp fronds from the species L. trabeculata with three levels of damage (damage types: physically damaged, naturally damaged, and undamaged). Behavior was monitored over a continuous four-hour period. In all trials, snails did not show a preference for fronds that had experienced natural damage over undamaged and artificially damaged fronds, and there was no affect of starvation. This indicates that T. tridentata may not exhibit choice in the quality of food that they consume and that starvation levels do not effect choice.
grazing, preference, kelp, snails, quality