ForBio and MEDUSA course: Systematics, Morphology and Evolution of Marine Molluscs

The University Museum of Bergen (University of Bergen, Norway), Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Russia), National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia), and ForBio (Research School in Biosystematics) jointly offer an International Course on Systematics, Morphology and Evolution of Marine Molluscs.

Hermissenda crassicornis from the Sea of Japan, Photo A. Semenov
Hermissenda crassicornis from the Sea of Japan, Photo A. Semenov

Course financial support

The course is financed by the Cooperation Programme between Norway and Russia “Multidisciplinary EDUcation and reSearch in mArine biology in Norway and Russia (MEDUSA)”, funded by the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education – DIKU.

Course scope

Molluscs are one of the most noticeable, abundant and diverse groups of marine invertebrates. They play significant role in marine benthic communities but also are very widely used in aquaculture. In this course, we aim to provide participants with a unique opportunity to get state of the art knowledge in various aspects of molluscan biology as well as hands-on experience in the field and laboratory work on marine molluscs. The course will cover a wide range of taxa including aplacophorans, polylplacophorans, gastropods, bivalves, cephalopods, and scaphopods. The lectures will address various theoretical questions in molluscan biology, morphology and systematics. Major hypotheses on the phylogenetic relationships between the main molluscan clades will be addressed and evolutionary adaptations to various, sometime extreme, marine biotopes will be discussed. During the lab work we will study external and internal morphology of selected mollusc taxa and perform anatomical dissections. Species used in the course will be collected by the professional divers but also by the students during the intertidal and small boat field trips in the vicinity of the Station.

Learning outcomes

  • Obtain in-depth understanding in the modern systematics, phylogeny and evolution of molluscs and their major clades.
  • Become familiar with the diversity of body plans within each group of molluscs
  • Develop skills in morphological examination of various mollusc taxa including preparations and anatomical dissections
  • Learn how to collect different groups of molluscs in the marine environment

Course venue

Marine Biological Station “Vostok” of the National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia) is located in the Vostok Bay of the Sea of Japan app. 150 km from Vladivostok, the administrative center of Primorsky Krai, Russia.  The station is well equipped with marine laboratories, aquaria and has professional diving service for collecting research and study materials. It provides access to extremely rich Pacific marine fauna and is an ideal place to study diversity of marine molluscs. 


Dr. Yury Kantor – Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Dr. Elena Krylova – Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Dr. Manuel Malaquias – University of Bergen, Norway

Dr. Christiane Todt – Rådgivende Biologer AS, Norway

Prof. Louise Allcock - National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Dr. Anton Chichvarkhin – National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Dr. Gennagy Kamenev – National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Dr. Elena Vortsepneva – Moscow State University, Russia

Dr. Irina Ekimova – Moscow State University, Russia


Min 12, max 16 students. Participants will be selected based on the registration forms, which includes a paragraph for motivation and importance of the course for your study/work.

Priority will be given to the participants from Russia and Norway, as required by the funding rules. Participants from other countries may also apply, they will be accepted if there will be vacant places.


There is no course fee required from the students. Local transport from and to Vladivostok, accommodation at the field station are covered for all course participants. ForBio members and associates from Norway and Russian participants enrolled in a MSc or a PhD program are supported in full, including travel. Travel support available for other participants from Russia upon request.

Logistics (may be adjusted closer to the event)

17.09.2019             Arrival to Vladivostok

18.09.2019             Transfer from Vladivostok to the Marine Biological Station Vostok (local                                   transportation provided)

19–24.09.2019       Course dates

25.09.2019             Transfer from the Marine Biological Station Vostok to Vladivostok

26.09.2019             International seminar at the National Scientific Center of Marine                                               Biology, Vladivostok and social activities organized by the Far-Eastern                                     Malacological Society led by Dr. Konstantin Lutaenko (NSCMB RAS)

28.09.2019             Departure  from Vladivostok

Travel to and from Vladivostok will be arranged by the University of Bergen for Norwegian ForBio members and associates and Russian participants enrolled in a MSc or a PhD program. Other participants should arrange travel to and from Vladivostok themselves, but in some cases, costs can be compensated, see Costs.


Participants are requested to arrange own travel insurance valid in Russia. Non-Russian participants should send the proof of the insurance to the course organizers prior the course.


English, with limited support in Russian.

Assignment and credits

The course is equivalent to 3 ECTS. ForBio will provide certificates for those successfully completed the course assignment.


Please fill in the online application here. Find out about how to become a ForBio member/associate here.

Application deadline

April 1st, 2019


Nataliya Budaeva ( - ForBio coordinator



Published Oct. 31, 2018 11:18 AM - Last modified June 2, 2019 2:17 PM