Alpine Land Snails
The project “Phylogeography of Alpine land snails” was funded by the Austrian Science Foundation FWF (No. 19592 B17) from 2007 to 2011. Our work is focused on land snails with interesting distribution patterns mainly in the eastern Alps and surrounding regions. Following up research studies about systematics and biology of the genera Arianta and Cylindrus in the 1990ties, we currently center again on the east Alpine endemite Cylindrus obtusus as well as on the genera Orcula and Trochulus and their relatives. Recently, we extended our interests on the Clausilia dubia complex and we start further to include Vertigo, Pyramidula and Cochlostoma in our phylogeographic studies. Our projects concern primarily questions of evolutionary biology and history, distribution patterns, dispersal mechanisms, genetic and morphological variation and speciation. These aspects are all part of the prominent task to deepen the knowledge of snail biodiversity and provide strong tools for biodiversity research. Furthermore, we aim to gather advanced knowledge on biology and ecology of snails to gain a more realistic basis for risk assessments, red data lists and nature conservation directives. Methodically we combine classical morphological investigations with molecular analyses. We use fresh samples and also material from the museum collection. We have collected vast material of many taxa throughout the last years and built up a databank; both will be incorporated into the mollusc collection of the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Genetic samples will be deposited in the tissue collection of the museum. Sequence data are passed to GenBank. We enjoy our contacts with the international scientific community, and are fairly interested in further discussion and co-operations.