LiMPETS presents student data at World Congress of Malacology!

Pacific Grove LiMPETS Coordinator, Hannah Sarver, presented student-collected Owl limpet data at the World Congress of Malacology Meeting in Asilomar, CA on August 15, 2019. The LiMPETS team compared size and abundance of owl limpets inside and outside of California State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Owl limpets are important in structuring rocky intertidal communities, as larger individuals are territorial females that clear space through grazing and bulldozing. Because of their large size, people commonly harvest them for food. Studies have found that preferentially harvesting the largest individuals shifts local population structures to include smaller, slower growing individuals. Student-collected data from two pairs of protected and unprotected sites in the central and north central coast collected over five years reflect similar trends, as individuals larger than 5.5 cm were largely absent at unprotected sites. Owl limpets within MPAs were often found at sizes ranging from 2.5-10cm. Students will continue to monitor owl limpets while learning the importance of MPAs.

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