Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Hugh Henry


The European banded wood snail (Cepaea nemoralis) has become widespread throughout the northeast United States and Canada, thriving in woodlands, roadsides, disturbed habitats, grasslands, and old fields. I used exclosure experiments to investigate the effect of snail herbivory on the biomass of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), a highly palatable forb species. I measured grass litter within exclosures to determine the effects o f detritivory on litter mass and used fecal analysis to determine the ratio of dead to live plant material in the diet. Snail exclosures had no effect on the total biomass of C. arvense or mass of grass litter. Live plants comprised approximately 10% of the overall snail diet with the remainder consisting of plant litter and soil. There was no clear seasonal trend in consumption of green material. However, snail herbivory increased with time from the last precipitation event, suggesting that snails consume live material to obtain water.



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