Molluscs and mangroves

We are investigating the intertwining histories of mangrove forests and certain gastropods.

Some gastropod molluscs are specially adapted to mangrove environments, which are currently under threat from deforestation and rising sea levels.

Almost all of the living members of the gastropod family Potamididae live in mangrove environments, appearing in the fossil record around the same time mangrove forests first evolved. 

Studying the evolution and biogeography of these gastropods gives insights into the history of the mangrove habitat itself.

We use molecular phylogenetics, museum records of distribution and the fossil record to examine these histories.

We are focusing on:
  • the specialized tree-climbing species of the Indo-pacific genus Cerithidea, and comparing it to the genus Littoraria which lives in a similar habitat
  • revising the systematics of the poorly known genera Cerithidea and Cerithideopsilla
  • the origin of the mangrove environment in the ancient Tethys Ocean
Project staff
External collaborators

Mangrove forest
Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in salty coastal regions rich in sediment. Mangrove forests are found in the tropics and subtropics, between 25°N and 25°S latitude.