Eco Patrol investigated molluscs of the Adriatic Sea.
Eco-patrol team met in Argonauta Association office to learn about one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet – Mollusks. The participants got detailed information about the three main types of Mollusk that are Gastropods, Bivalves and Cephalopods. We focused on snails and mussels that have the external shells. Eco-patrolers learn how this animals move, eat and breathe. Their basic body plan includes a muscular foot for crawling and a hard shell to protect its soft body parts are successful designs for bottom dwellers.
There are about 240 species of shells living in the Adriatic Sea. The majority of shells live along the coast and in lower sea, attached to rocks or in the sand which makes it easier to pick them up. Most seashells can be picked up by hand without any special equipment. This makes them easily reachable so, unfortunately, they are over-hunted due to their tasteful meat or their attractive shell that many people want to keep as a souvenir.
For this workshop we used the collection of shells gathered in Argonauta Association. The task for participants was to find, describe and classify fifteen different shells from Adriatic Sea. Before they came, we hide all of the shells in boxes with different substrate inside (sand, rocks and sea grass). Each boxes imitated sea habitats of Gastropods and Bivalves. Participants characterized shells (shape, color, length etc.). They used identification key books to recognize each species.
After the task was done, we watched a short movie about this amazing animals. Video help group better understand Mollusks behavior and way how they move.
During discussion, we talk about protection of Prstaci. These mussels bore into marine rocks and their growth is very Croatian coastal area catch them is strictly forbidden since 1995. Several governments have restricted the collection of these shells or even made it illegal, in order to protect the rocks on which they are found. The extraction of the shells from the rocks leads to desertification of the coast. These countries include Italy, Slovenia, France, Greece, Montenegro and others, including participants in the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Even we spent time inside participants were more familiar with the nature. At the end the workshop weather was better and we went outside to play for a while!