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Where Do The Shells Go? Seaside Recycling

Nature Notes

by Bob Thomas

Have you ever wondered if and how seashells are broken down in nature? The answer is more interesting than you may think.

Other than simply wearing down from being jostled about in a gritty environment by wave energy, seashells are broken down by a long list of organisms whose niche in nature includes the work of biodegrading empty shells into the tiny pieces we see on the beach.


Article Title
Oysters, Louisiana Levant Magazine; Vol. 3, No. 2; pp. 15, 19, 20; February-March 2007

In The Wild
by Bob Thomas

Oysters are among the defining elements of the culture of the lower Lake Pontchartrain Basin, predominantly in the area known as the Biloxi marsh. They are a component of an enormous interconnected economy, essential to the world renowned cuisine of New Orleans and the rest of south Louisiana, and their reefs are essential to the biodiversity of the Basin’s waters, especially those nearest the Gulf of Mexico.

Island Apple Snail

Article Title
Island Apple Snail, Delta Journal, Times Picayune, 4-13-08 C-9

Dorsum of Apple Snail Delta Journal
by Bob Thomas

New Orleans has a new resident, and we shall see if it is a welcome addition.

Our new citizen is the Island Apple Snail, Pomacea insularum, a large freshwater snail that is almost two inches in diameter. It has taken up residence in canals on the West Bank, and is well enough established to be actively breeding.

Carnivorous Marine Snails

Article Title
Carnivorous marine snails, Delta Journal, The Times-Picayune, July 15, 2007, C-9

Delta Journal
by Bob Thomas

Have you ever found a shell on the beach with a perfectly round hole piercing it? I hope you had the good sense to pick it up, lace a string through the hole and wear it as a beach necklace.