The objectives of this project on spatial movement patterns in British rocky shore littorine winkles are to investigate i) if different food types affect the complexity of individual foraging paths ii) if the abundance of food and the complexity of the rock surface affect the complexity of individual movement in natural populations.
To conduct these experiments we will follow the movements of individual animals using photography. Then with novel methods we can describe the complexity of the trails (the tortuousity of the movement paths) with fractal dimension. Earlier field studies of movement in marine gastropods have, in contrast to our project, underestimated the actual shape and distance of a path, as they have not analysed individual trails. We also intend using computer simulations to study optimal spatial foraging strategies as a comparison to the experimental observations in order to determine what simple "rules of foraging movement" these snails might be obeying.