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Monisha Bharate, PhD candidate from the Bombay Natural History Society, India visits the Museum

PhD student Monisha Bharate receives scientific training in Bergen

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Between the 15th of January and 16th of February the Museum received the visit of Monisha Bharate a PhD student from the Bombay Natural History Society supervised by Dr Deepak Apte. The visit was supported by the University of Bergen Strategic Programme for International Research and Education (SPIRE). Monisha visited the Museum to work on the taxonomy of the difficult haminoid marine snails (genus Haminoea) from the shores of India and learn techniques of molecular lab work (DNA extraction, amplification, and sequencing), anatomical dissections, and scanning electron microscopy. It was an intense month of hard work, but with great and exciting results; about 20 specimens were dissected and a similar amount sequenced. Most of the samples that Monisha brought from India were collected in the west coast of the country and in the Andaman Islands, Gulf of Bengal. Among these material we recognized six species, one of them certainly new to Science. The study of the diversity of Haminoea snails and its evolution and biogeography is one of the focuses of the malacological research being carried out at the Museum and we are implementing an integrative approach combining detailed anatomical studies with molecular phylogenetics and the analyses of type specimens to uncover the diversity of these animals and establish the valid names of species and its synonyms. Regarding the Indian geographical region, future steps include the survey of the eastern coast and the tropical Lakshadweep archipelago in the Arabian Sea.