One shell at a time

one-shell-at-a-timeWords by Amyline Quien Ching

There are only two things worth taking home after a trip to the beach— funny moments with your family captured on film and those shells, whether stringed to make a necklace or preserved for your shell collection. But do you know that bringing these shells home with you can indirectly deprive aquatic animals a piece of their homes?

Although often nondescript and largely taken for granted, seashells and corals play crucial roles in the ecosystem. Corals provide a home for small fishes and serve as their protection against predators. The same goes for shells, which are homes to soft-bodied animals called mollusks that help clean the water. If these are irresponsibly taken from their natural environment, the balance in the ecosystem will be affected, creating problems for marine life. Even the shells washed ashore serve a purpose by keeping the sand in place and providing food for birds.

One shell in particular that collectors are going after is the Triton’s Trumpet, which is worth a couple of thousand pesos. But because it is now part of shell collections at home, it is in danger of becoming extinct. This is unfortunate because Triton’s Trumpets can limit the number of crown-of-thorns starfishes and prevent the destruction of coral reefs. (Read More)