More Tales from Land Snails – #365papers – 2017 – 34

#365 papers for February 3, 2017

Prendergast, Stevens, Barker, and O’Connell, 2015, Oxygen isotope signatures from land snail (Helix melanostoma) shells and body fluid: Proxies for reconstructing Mediterranean and North African rainfall: Chemical Geology, v. 409, p. 87-98.

What’s it about?

This paper seeks to show that what we’ve been saying we can do with the geochemistry of snail shells (especially oxygen isotopes) can actually be done. This paper shows that there is a relationship between oxygen isotopes in rainfall and those of snail body fluids. The relationship between isotopic signatures of body fluids and shells is then shown.

Why does it matter?

When looking at fossils, we don’t have the option to look at the body fluids of the snails. We only have shell chemistry and assume that this relates to precipitation somehow. This paper “ground-truths” this hypothesis so that we can use shell chemical data with more confidence.

Why did I read this?

This paper got picked up because I’m doing research with some modern land snails. Other papers I’ve read dealt with freshwater aquatic snails. Interpretation of shell geochemistry is different when you’re dealing with a fully terrestrial snail. These are much easier to work with.

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