Planned Partula 2017 research expedition by Justin Gerlach
For many years Partula snail conservation seemed like a hopeless task, with no prosect of eliminating their Euglandina predators and little hope of re-establishing the tree-snails in the wild. This has now changed, with experimental reintroductions of several species. Current data suggest that some of these may be successful, as long as predator populations remain low. We don't know what determines the occasional reappearance of the predators, and this is a point that needs urgent investigation.
I am intending to answer this question by re-examining the status of the predators in Polynesia. My planned 2017 Partula expedition will investigate the ecology of the predators (the Euglandina snail and the Platydemus flatworm) and survey the surviving wild Partula populations. Excellent work has been done by Trevor Coote in monitoring populations for many years, especially on Tahiti and Moorea. In addition to the monitored populations there are isolated records of survivors of a few other species. I intend to search for as many of these as possible, in the hope that some continue to survive and could be protected from the predators. Islands to be visited and species to be searched for are:
Many of the important sites are high forest areas, rarely visited as it is difficult to climb up to them. Some can only sensibly be reached by helicopter. If you wish to support this project please contact Justin Gerlach