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Mollusca Research

Diversity and taxonomy of heterobranch gastropods in West Africa

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Philine spp. from West Africa
A species of the genus Philine collected from sandy-muddy bottoms off West Africa

West Africa marine biodiversity remains poorly known. A cooperation involving the University Museum of Bergen, the Institute of Marine Research, and African institutions was lunched in 2005 to mitigate this situation and a benthic sampling programme was initiated. Qualitative samples have been collected nearly all over the western coast of Africa (see map) and what is probably the best World collection of molluscs of the region has been amassed and is available for study at the Natural History Museum of Bergen. This project aims to study the diversity and distribution of West Africa heterobranch gastropods (sea slugs and alikes) using shells, anatomical dissections, scanning electron microscopy, and molecular phylogenetics (DNA).