Mollusca Research

Alien species

Collaborative work between the University of Rostock and the Natural History Museum of Bergen

Professor Wranik (yellow coat) in action
Wolfgang Wranik

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Professor Wolfgang Wranik from the University of Rostock in Germany has visited the Natural History Museum during the 13-14th of June to work on a recently detected invasion of an American species of haminoid gastropods observed in southern Scandinavia and the western Baltic Sea. The species is apparently already reproducing and established in the area, but it is unknown when and how did it make is way across the Atlantic. A combination of DNA and fine morphological data using scanning electron microscopy is being employed to compare specimens from both side of the Atlantic and confirm the identity of the European specimens.

Global warming is facilitating the spread of southern species into higher latitudes and is well documented the role of shipping and mariculture activities in re-shaping the distribution of many marine species. Among haminoids there is fear that a Pacific species established in the Mediterranean Sea since the 1990s (Haminoea japonica) is already displacing the native fauna of this molluscs, which raises concerns about the possible impact of the US haminoid in our local environments.