Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Dislodged but not dead: survivorship of a high intertidal snail following wave dislodgement

Luke P.  Miller a1c1, Michael J.  O'Donnell a1p1 and Katharine J.  Mach a1
a1 Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950, USA

Article author query
miller lp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
o'donnell mj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mach kj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Waves breaking on rocky shorelines impart large forces on intertidal organisms, sometimes dislodging individuals. Dislodged individuals may be deposited in habitats that have a greater risk of predation or that prevent return to preferred regions on the shore. Thus, dislodgement is often assumed to be lethal. We experimentally dislodged Littorina keenae snails from high in the intertidal zone to test the likelihood of survival. Under a variety of wave conditions, we measured return rates to the high shore of 54–90%, so in this species, dislodgement is not equal to death. Snails showed a strong preference for returning to the approximate tidal height from which they were dislodged, but we found no evidence of widespread homing behaviour back to the original site of dislodgement.

(Received July 6 2006)
(Accepted January 22 2007)

c1 Corresponding author, e-mail:
p1 Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA