June 18, 2008

SIUC to host malacological society meeting

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- More than 100 malacological scientists and researchers from all over the world will be at Southern Illinois University Carbondale June 29 through July 3 for the 74th Annual American Malacological Society Meeting.

The American Malacological Society, or AMS as its membership calls it, is an international society of individuals and organizations involved in the study and conservation of mollusks of all types. The organization dates back to 1931 when founders dubbed it the American Malacological Union.

The world is home to thousands and thousands of species of the soft-bodied creatures that are most often covered by hard exoskeletons. Studying and conserving snails, octopuses, squid, clams, scallops, oysters and other such organisms, which are vital parts of global ecosystems, is what AMS is all about.

The annual meeting at the SIUC Student Center will include several special sessions and symposiums well as field trips to Southern Illinois mollusk habitats, including the Ohio River and the Larue Pine Hills/Otter Pond Research Natural Area. The lineup includes a land snail conservation symposium and workshop in honor of the late Leslie Hubricht, a symposium on molluscan taxonomy in the 21st century and a special session on cephalopod biology.

Presenters and organizers include Kathryn Perez of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University, Jay Cordeiro of NatureServe, Jochen Gerber of the Field Museum of Natural History, Kevin Roe of Iowa State University, Benoit Dayrat of University of California- Merced, Elizabeth Shea of the Delaware Museum of Natural History and Frank Anderson and Christine Huffard from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Participants will also enjoy an auction of molluscan items and time at local restaurants, wineries and shops. Outstanding student malacology papers and posters will earn awards too.

For more information, visit the SIUC Department of Continuing Education Web site at www.dce.siu.edu.