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UMPI faculty, staff members help with freshwater snail research

Friday, 23 March 2012

Two members of the University of Maine at Presque Isle community recently were recognized for their help on a research project that was published for the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund in February and continued on the work conducted by one of the region's best known naturalists.

Staff member Jeanie McGowan and faculty member Dr. Judy Roe provided assistance to Kenneth Hotopp of the environmental consulting company Appalachian Conservation Biology on the research work he conducted last summer on freshwater snails in Aroostook County. His final report, Freshwater Snail Inventory of the Fish River Lakes, built upon the research by well-known regional naturalist Olof Nylander. Hotopp utilized the Nylander historic collection sites, the collection specimens, and archives to determine research target locations.

McGowan, who serves as the Curator of Collections at the Nylander Museum in addition to her work with the Northern Maine Museum of Science, provided logistical support and access to museum resources. Roe, UMPI Assistant Professor of Biology, served as a volunteer field partner in the project, providing collection help at Long and Cross Lakes.

Hotopp inventoried freshwater snails at eight major lakes of the Fish River watershed, paying special attention to pond snails, which were collected historically by Nylander. Fourteen freshwater snail species in six families were recovered as part of the field work. Hotopp found that some snails were not located in some lakes where Nylander had found them, and some snails exhibited different shell forms, but that, overall, "a qualitative comparison with the Fish River Lakes freshwater snail fauna of 100 years ago suggests it remains mostly intact today."

McGowan and Roe were thanked in the acknowledgements section of the final report for their help on the project. With this work now complete, more freshwater snail research based on Nylander's work is being considered.