If you are a lover of the beach, but also of caring for the environment and sustainable tourism, this information will be useful to you on your summer vacation.
We hope that after reading this article you will be more aware that everything in nature has a function and, from now on, you will also be the one to explain to the people in your circle why they should not take the shells that are found on the beach.
The shells are like a shield that protects the soft parts of bivalve molluscs and gastropods, such as snails, from drying out and from predators. Just like we have cells that build our bones, mollusks build their shells.
Mollusks extract calcium from their food, water, rocks, and the environment. They arrive through the blood flow to the mantle, which is the tissue of the soft part of the animal responsible for depositing the material from which the shell is made (calcium carbonate), concentrates them and transforms them into crystals, which are deposited in layers.
Clams, oysters, mussels or snails need calcium carbonate to develop their shells and they get this from dead shells that erode over time. What happens is that the decrease in shells on the beaches limits the new molluscs or gastropods to develop their shells.
In fact, there are already several studies that maintain that human influence is depleting the shell beaches, especially when two factors intervene: that the area is touristy and that the shells in the area are beautiful.
Summing up a lot, by taking the shells we are breaking the harmony of the water chemistry, since more calcium carbonate in the environment contributes to avoiding the acidification of the oceans. So in an «innocent» way we are even changing the chemistry of our oceans, which is endangering the marine balance.
But that is not here:
The sand is formed in part by the erosion of the shells of the beaches. If we take them away, we remove part of that reservoir to form new sand. So there will come a time when more and more, the beaches have less sand. So there will come a time when you will not have a place to place your towel.
The fact of taking the shells also has consequences in the decrease in the abundance of diversity of certain organisms that inhabit these coastal ecosystems.
So we invite you to share this information, since it is often unknown. Take a picture of it and leave it where it belongs.
Since despite the fact that our mind sees them as something inanimate, the shells still have to continue performing their function in nature.