Imagine you are deep below the ocean’s surface, where no light reaches, it is very cold, and you need to find a nice hard place to settle down and make a living. Would you be excited if you came across a rotting whale carcass or an empty shark’s egg case? Well, you would if you were a lepetelloid limpet.
You see, this group of limpets (see my page “Why limpets?” for an explanation on what a limpet is) has evolved to occupy the highest diversity of habitat types of any other deep sea mollusc group. Different taxa within this group occupy such eclectic substrates as hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, whale falls, sunken wood, used shark and skate egg cases, algal holdfasts, crab carapaces, sponges on seamounts, and sometimes a combination of these. I have made it my mission during my graduate career and beyond to learn everything I can about the evolutionary history and ecology of this group of limpets, hence the name of this blog, the eclectic limpet.
How am I going to learn all I can about these critters? Well, for starters, I’m off to Japan in a little less than a month to explore the extensive museum collections and do some collecting of my own with one of the world’s leaders in deep sea mollusc morphology, Dr. Takenori Sasaki. Navigating the science world of Japan and even just getting around Tokyo will sure to be quite an adventure, which I’m looking forward to telling you all about!