Marla Coppolino

Unido: 25.jul.2017 Última actividad: 28.feb.2024 iNaturalist Patrocinador mensual desde noviembre 2023

I've felt connected with nature for as long as I can remember. I always enjoy learning more and am happy to exchange knowledge with others here on iNaturalist. I'm a monthly supporter.

I'm a malacologist with focus on land snails and slugs. I'm interested in the role they play in the ecosystem -- in nutrient cycling, as an essential part of the diets of many other animals, as transporters of fungal and bryophyte spores, and as plant pollinators.

While I enjoy meeting most every living thing, I'm particularly curious about the less-appreciated critters, like snails, slugs, millipedes, centipedes, rotifers, slime molds, and others with many legs or no legs. My most recent interest is in leafhoppers and treehoppers.

I welcome help with identifications as well as additional information about diagnostic characters. I also appreciate if you can share hints about particular photos or notes on behavior for a species.

If you're observing a land snail, please take at least 3 views of the shell: apical (the "top" or spiral side), umbilical ("bottom"), and apertural (the opening). For species that are taller than wide, apical, umbilical, plus another side view of the shell usually suffice. Views of the active animal are helpful too.

For land slugs, the most helpful photo views include the right side, where the pneumostome, or breathing pore, is located. The position, shape, and sometimes the color of the pneumostome can be helpful for determining species. A view of the dorsal side and foot (including mucus color) are equally useful, as is a view of the slug's defensive posture, which can be curled or hunched up.

My educational background: BS in Biological Sciences, University of Georgia, and MS in Zoology, Southern Illinois University. I'm a level 3 Master Naturalist and have taken lots of courses and workshops on various disciplines in natural history (fauna, flora, bryophyte, fungi, geological, paleontological).

I've worked as a field biologist, as a collections manager of mollusks at the American Museum of Natural History, and currently as a research associate at Paleontological Research Institution and Delaware Museum of Natural History. By day, I develop online courses for the Lab of Ornithology. I spend time educating the public about the importance of native land snails and slugs. Whenever I'm able, I write articles, give talks, and lead snail walks.

I'm also a scientific illustrator, fine artist, and children's book author and illustrator.

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