The concept of equilibrium - the idea that a perturbed system will tend to return to its original state - is the basis for many foundational theories in ecology. Yet, the spatial and temporal dynamics of ecosystems are strongly influenced by disturbance. If a particular disturbance greatly alters local climatic conditions, gastropods should be among the first organisms to show a measurable response. The effects of human alteration of habitats (for example, conversion of forest to agriculture) have much longer-lasting effects than those of natural disturbances.
Bloch, Christopher P.
Why Snails? How Gastropods Improve Our Understanding of Ecological Disturbance.
Bridgewater Review, 31(2), 8-13.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/br_rev/vol31/iss2/5