How do environmental conditions influence predator and prey body size? Luke Calderaro ('22), Marina Rillo, and I addressed this question by studying the empty shells of marine bivalves, and the predatory traces (drillholes) left behind by drilling gastropods, at sites located on the continental shelf between Louisiana and Florida. Luke measured more than 3000 bivalve shells and associated traces of drilling predation, and we worked with Marina to compile environmental data for our 15 stations. Using mixed-effects models, we examined the associations between environmental conditions and predator and prey size, while accounting for the sizes of different bivalve genera. Overall, we found that bivalves tend to be larger in low oxygen settings where predation is greatly reduced, and that the sizes of predators and prey tend to increase with sea surface temperature. To learn more, you can read our open-access article in Paleobiology here: link.
Calderaro, L.A., P.G. Harnik, and M.C. Rillo. 2023. Environmental correlates of molluscan predator-prey body size in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Paleobiology.