Campus News

Snail skeptics

Researchers are fingering the common periwinkle snail as the culprit in disappearing salt marshes in Georgia and across the South, saying that they’ve attacked the rare healthy stands of grass left after drought. But some scientists are skeptical that the snail’s role is so prominent. Merryl Alber, UGA marine ecologist, is quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Snails may have exacerbated the problem,” she says. “But I don’t think they had a major role. There are a lot of pressures on Georgia’s salt marshes. And the drought we had from 2001 to 2003 was a once-in-a-hundred year event, so we really don’t have anything to compare it to.”