GASTROPODS: Gastropods are a class of molluscs, commonly referred to as snails and slugs - find out more about them here.
Because sediment-dwelling organisms respond predictably to many kinds of natural and human-made stresses or disturbances they have been widely used as indicators of estuary health in environmental monitoring programmes worldwide. Changes in the types and abundance of animals present within an estuary may indicate the effects of localised disturbances (e.g. channel dredging) or regional-scale pressures or activities (e.g. terrigenous sediment, nutrient enrichment). Some of the sediment-dwelling organisms found in Waikato estuaries are described in the navigation menu above.