Daniel Killam, Zuckerman Postdoc Scholar (alum), Published New Research in PLOS ONE
Valvometry, the electronic measurement of bivalve shell opening and closing, has been demonstrated to be a valuable biomonitoring technique in previous ecological and environmental studies. Valvometric data has been shown to relate significantly to pollution, predation, animal stress and feeding activity. However, there is a need for valvometric techniques applicable to coral reef environments, which may provide critical insights into reef resilience to ocean warming and acidification. Giant clams are endemic to coral reefs and hold great promise as valvometric recorders of light availability, productivity and other environmental variables. Despite this promise, prior valvometric work on giant clams has been limited by specialized hardware less accessible to developing countries where many coral reefs are found. We propose that giant clams exhibit behavioral plasticity between individuals and populations, and advocate for the more widespread use of valvometry to enable comparative studies of reef environment and animal health.