Project C1

Project C1 – Patterns of biodiversity and biodiversity deterioration of Pontocaspian mollusk taxa – >Grigore Antipa Museum Bucharest – ESR >Alberto Gandara – Supervisor >Prof. Luis Popa:

The full extent of the current Pontocaspian biodiversity crisis is not established, but many endemic species are in severe decline. Of particular concern are benthic mollusks species that suffer from habitat destruction, pollution and invasives. However, due to a high degree of non‐ adaptive radiation in these taxa, patterns of endemic biodiversity are not well understood. This makes it difficult to infer processes of faunal change and establish conservation strategies. The project therefore uses recent and Holocene materials of the Lymnocardiinae (>25 endemic species), Dreissenidae (> 5 species) and the Pyrgulinae (unknown number of endemic species) to reconstruct the demographic history of these taxa in space and time and to infer large‐ and fine‐scaled evolutionary processes as a basis for a robust scenario‐driven conservation assessment.