Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX student publishes work in marine ecology journal

June 21st, 2017
Zachary Sherker

StFX student Zachary Sherker is now a published author. A paper, Predator-induced shell plasticity in mussels hinders predation by drilling snails, resulting from Directed Studies he conducted last year under the supervision of StFX biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati in the Marine Ecology Lab has been published in the peer-reviewed journal "Marine Ecology Progress Series."

This is a prestigious journal, and Dr. Scrosati, also a co-author on the paper, says he is pleased to see Mr. Sherker's work recognized at this international level.

“Zachary's project included a field experiment done on the Atlantic coast and a laboratory experiment done subsequently at StFX. His research demonstrated that the simple presence of a common marine predator from our shores, a voracious dogwhelk, can chemically stimulate its prey, blue mussels, to plastically thicken its shell, in that way enhancing the mussels' ability to resist predation,” says Dr. Scrosati.  

“Zachary's results add to a growing body of experimentally based knowledge that is revealing how predators can affect prey in non-consumptive ways. All in all, this will help to better understand how marine benthic predators affect prey populations.”

This project also benefited from the input of Dr. Julius Ellrich, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Scrosati’s lab and co-author of the study.  

Field assistance was provided by master’s student Sonja Ehlers and summer undergraduate student Jadine Krist who were working in Dr. Scrosati’s lab.


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