“To explore, discover and document bioresources of the North-Eastern region, assess their economic importance, develop models of sustainable resource use and build capacity and strengthen institutions in Biodiversity Science”

Workshop on basics of Mollusc Taxonomy and Ecology

Certificate Training Programme on improving your skills in Mollusc Taxonomy

Duration and Venue
The workshop will be held from 12th to 15th February 2020 at the Indian Institute of Bank Management, Jawahar Nagar, Khanapara, Guwahati.

Background to the Workshop
Most of us are enamored by the colorful shells found in sea beaches. These shells belong to the second largest Phylum of invertebrates, the Mollusca. The members of this group are called molluscs and these are not just found on the sand beaches but on land as well as in freshwater. Among these, the snails and slugs (gastropods) are the most abundant molluscs accounting for more than 80% of the classified species. They are enormously diverse in size, shape, colour as well as in their anatomical structure. Understanding their diversity and basic ecology is the first step towards using their potential value as bioresource.

The three and half day long workshop will aim to impart basic knowledge of integrative taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of Indian molluscs. The participants will learn how to spot these elusive species in the field and identify them using morphological and morphometric data. Furthermore, a detailed account of collection and preservation methods will be given. The participants will be encouraged to identify these snails using both anatomical and DNA based methods. Basic ecology of these species, understanding water quality and soil parameters governing their choice of habitat will also be discussed. The workshop will also include lectures on biogeography of these species. The last section of the workshop will focus on the existing knowledge to conserve the bioresource value of these species in the Northeast India and learn traditional ways of using them not only as food and medicine but also their cultural significance.

Course Structure

Day 1 - Lectures: Introduction to the workshop – general structure of the workshop; Introduction to molluscs – What are molluscs, evolution of Mollusca; History of Indian Mollusca studies – How different stages of malacology research in India from pre-independence to 21st century enriched our understanding; Edible molluscs - molluscs as food, what molluscs are consumed in different parts of India and why; Taxonomy of Mollusca – diversity of molluscs and how to classify them.

Day 2 - Lectures: Habitat variables in mollusc distribution – what are the biotic and abiotic factors that govern the local distribution of molluscs. Field: Soil collection – collection of soil and leaf litter to capture the diversity of soil and leaf litter dwelling snails; water analysis – estimation of water quality (pH, TDS, temperature) to predict variables responsible for presence or absence of molluscs; Snail collection methods – how to spot and collect gastropods in field.

Day 3 - Laboratory: Morphology and Morphometry – Measurement of morphological and morphometric variables for taxonomic purpose; Soil sorting – Detecting molluscs in the collected soil.

Day 4 – Lectures: Molecular tools in mollusk taxonomy - A brief review of usage of integrative taxonomy and species delimitation methods using molecular tools; Conservation of molluscs – Why conserve molluscs? Importance of Mollusca as bioindicators, in traditional food and medicine and as a part of the food chain, How to conserve molluscs; Biogeography of molluscs – a brief account of the biogeography of Mollusca with respect to the paleogeology and paleoclimate of the Indian subcontinent.

Course Fees

There is no registration fee for attending the workshop. All the participants will be provided training materials, tea/ coffee and food (lunch, dinner, and breakfast) for all four days. Accommodation and food will be provided at the university hostel. No Travel allowance (TA) will be provided to the participants. All participants have to bear the expenses of travel between their home town/ institute and training place. However, local travel expenses for field visits during the workshop will be borne by the organisers.

Who Can Apply

Students (B.Sc, M.Sc, PhDs), Post-Doctoral Fellows, Early career scientists (Applicants should be from/working in North-East India)

Application Deadline

Interested candidates may fill in the form provided in the link below by 25th January, 2020
Selected applicants will be notified by 27th January, 2020

Apply Online


For more information or queries, please contact:

Sajitha T P: sajitha.tp@atree.org (ATREE) G Ravikanth: gravikanth@atree.org (ATREE) Programme

The workshop is conducted under the aegis of Department of Biotechnology funded project “Bioresources and Sustainable Livelihoods in Northeast India”.