Department or Program
This thesis provides a natural history-based background for the ecology of the milky ribbon worm Cerebratulus lacteusby utilizing the knowledge possessed by Maine clammers. Over recent years, the impact of the milky ribbon worm, a predatory worm that preys on soft-shell clams along the intertidal zones of the Gulf of Maine, has rapidly increased. There have not been many ecologically based studies on the milky ribbon worm, providing a rare opportunity to revert to the roots of ecology and gather the natural histories of this organism. Natural history has an important role in contemporary ecology as it provides the baseline knowledge of organisms, processes, and ecosystems that can then be used to develop future scientific research questions. Participatory research is a way to incorporate local ecological knowledge into scientific studies, that otherwise may not have been accessible by more contemporary, scientific means. This thesis uses participatory research methodologies to interview clammers about their experiences with the milky ribbon worm. Based on information gathered through these interviews, this study recommends further research on the milky ribbon worm be focused on the preferred sediment structures and textures of their habitat, the softening of mudflats in coastal Maine, the impact of increasing temperature on milky ribbon worms, the mechanisms by which milky ribbon worms find their prey, and milky ribbon worm behaviors that may provide opportunities for catching large numbers at one time.
Level of Access
Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts
Elfström, Oaklea Bullock, "The Natural History of the Milky Ribbon Worm: As Told by Maine Clam Diggers" (2021). Standard Theses. 241.
Number of Pages
Components of Thesis
1 pdf file
Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.