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Shelling in the UK
01-16-2007, 01:14 PM,
Shelling in the UK
Hi - I've got to do a specimen collection as part of my Ecology Degree and really want to make a collection of shells. The thing is I have no idea where to start, where to go and what to actually collect when I get there.

I wondered if anyone had any ideas of any good areas in the Lancashire area and any places further afield in the UK. Do you think that I should concentrate on collecting a particular type or grouping of shells or just pick up whatever I can get??? Any advise or information would be very helpful - thank you

01-21-2007, 04:58 PM,
Shelling in the UK
Hi Stacie,

Shells sounds like a good idea for an ecology project, first because they are easy to find in a considerable variety, easy to collect, easy to preserve (compared to plants or insects for example), and are available in quantities sufficient to do some statistical analysis if that is your objective; but especially because most molluscs are quite restricted in the kinds of habitat they inhabit. The species of shells you find on a sandy beach will be different from those on a rocky shoreline, and different again from the species from muddy backwaters and quiet bays. Therefore you could demonstrate the characteristics of various species that enable them to survive in various kinds of habitat - ideal for ecology.

I can't recommend any specific locations in your area, since I'm on the other side of the Atlantic. But the kinds of habitats in your area are surely similar to the habitat types in my area, and so are the types of molluscs. In fact, there are a number of different species that are found both where you are and where I am. Just drive down the coast and look for areas that appear different. Rocks vs. sand vs. mudflats. Waves breaking on the beach vs. quiet inlets with minimum wave action. Soon you will start to get a feel for the kinds of shells you can expect to find, just by viewing the habitat from a distance. It would be interesting to include photos of the habitats with the specimens collected there.

There is a 2-volume set that will be of great help to you if you can get your hands on a copy, European Seashells by Poppe & Goto. Volume 1 covers the gastropod (univalve or snail-type) shells and Volume 2 covers the bivalve species. And of course if you run into any identification problems, you can get help on this forum as well. Good luck!

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