Wednesday, April 4, 2012
It’s A Slug’s Life: The ecology of terrestrial slugs

Megan Paustian, PhD
Collection Manager of Mollusks
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Noon–1 p.m.
Earth Theater, First Floor Rear
Carnegie Museum of Natural History


Terrestrial slugs evolved multiple times from snail ancestors, converging on a similar body type but varied lifestyles. Little is known about the role of slugs in natural ecosystems, and their study is hampered by historical inattention. There is urgency to study invasive slugs, which are spreading extensively outside their native ranges and potentially interacting with native slugs and plants, decomposition processes, and agriculture. Megan highlights the known ecology and biogeography of Mid-Atlantic slugs, including the native family Philomycidae and colonizing Eurasian slugs. Her dissertation project investigated whether the non-native slug Arion subfuscus is competing with the native slug Philomycus carolinianus in local forests through complementary studies in the field (resource choice and microscale surveys) and laboratory (studies of fitness and competition mechanisms of slugs in microcosms).

Related Publication: Paustian, M.E. and Barbosa, P. (in press). Overlap of food and microhabitat preferences among some native and nonnative slugs in Mid-Atlantic forests of Eastern North America. Journal of Molluscan Studies.

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