Predation is a key process influencing the evolution and diversity of species. In the marine environment, shell-crushing crabs are thought to play a vital role in structuring gastropod populations, however, obtaining large amounts of quantitative data on predator-prey interactions directly in the marine environment is logistically challenging.
Carrie Tyler (Miami University, Oxford, Ohio), Emily Stafford and Lindsey Leighton (University of Alberta) used wax replicas (or ‘waxopods’) of gastropod snails to quantify crab-gastropod interactions in the field without the need for direct observations.
The effectiveness using waxopods was verified using surveys of repair scar frequencies of the gastropod populations in wave-exposed versus wave-protected habitats.
To hear more about this research, link to a podcast by Dr. Leighton here.