Expeditions sponsored by MSF

The study of molluscs has been a field where very often, their uses were in the main focus, e.g. as currency (in anthropological studies), molluscs as food-source, and pearl farming. The taxonomy of molluscs was largely based on their shells, and only more recently, ecological, evolutionary, and other biological aspects have been addressed.

 

Taxonomy is a science carried out by only a few professional and amateur malacologists. New species of molluscs are discovered commonly, which may be at a greater scale than in most other phyla of animal kingdom. The task of the taxonomist may seem simple at first: characterize the new species, give it a new name, and differentiate it from those species that have already been named. However, it requires a broad knowledge of the field, e.g. knowing which species of a group have already been named and which are the new ones. It often requires traveling to museums to look at reference collections.

 

As this field research is not a hi-tech modern science that makes it into the news, taxonomists are often dependent on private funding.  However, the characterization of species is the most important first step, before a species or its habitat can be protected, and the species itself be investigated for its properties and possible uses, e.g. in medical research.

 

Species-diversity of an area needs to be thoroughly known, and the species must have been given names and a characterization. The ecological niches and habitats, as well as the geographical regions they occupy, need to be investigated. With this data, more appropriate plans for the conservation of habitats and geographical areas can be assessed.

Expeditions

The study of molluscs has been a field where very often, their uses were in the main focus, e.g. as currency (in anthropological studies), molluscs as food-source, and pearl farming. The taxonomy of molluscs was largely based on their shells, and only more recently, ecological, evolutionary, and other biological aspects have been addressed.

 

Taxonomy is a science carried out by only a few professional and amateur malacologists. New species of molluscs are discovered commonly, which may be at a greater scale than in most other phyla of animal kingdom. The task of the taxonomist may seem simple at first: characterize the new species, give it a new name, and differentiate it from those species that have already been named. However, it requires a broad knowledge of the field, e.g. knowing which species of a group have already been named and which are the new ones. It often requires traveling to museums to look at reference collections.

 

As this field research is not a hi-tech modern science that makes it into the news, taxonomists are often dependent on private funding.  However, the characterization of species is the most important first step, before a species or its habitat can be protected, and the species itself be investigated for its properties and possible uses, e.g. in medical research.

 

Species-diversity of an area needs to be thoroughly known, and the species must have been given names and a characterization. The ecological niches and habitats, as well as the geographical regions they occupy, need to be investigated. With this data, more appropriate plans for the conservation of habitats and geographical areas can be assessed.

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