The methodology used by the malacologists in a snail exploration may be summarized as follow.
1st step : Planning the prospecting of the area of the Loën quarry that will be carried out by the observers.
This means defining possible stations to explore and planning the way to reach them. Typically, we plan a study of about half an hour to one hour per station.
2nd step : At each station :
* First : geographic coordinates (GPS), height, type of soil and plants, characterization of the different biotopes sites, weather and temperature;
* Next : exploring plants, trees, soils, rocks, litters OR ponds and streams with aquatic plants, emerged stones, banks;
* Next : identification of observed species (using scientific systematics), photograph living animals on the field, picking empty shells, codification (living/dead, adult/subadult/juvenile, …);
* Finally, collecting litter/mud especially important for small (even minute) land/freshwater species.
3rd step :
* Study of collected shells and photographs;
* Final identification of the samples and comparison with existing data;
* Sieving litter/mud collection and additional identifications.
4th step :
* Summary of the systematics study and match observed species with soils/water and biotopes, leading to possible statistical exploitation;
* Management of the data, photographs and shells (information database).
As one can see, this is an accurate, rather heavy but finally very pleasant process :-) !