Voting for "Mollusc of the Year 2022" started - LOEWE Center TBG invites you to participate until March 15, 2022

Cymbulia Peronii (sea butterfly)
© Linda Ianniello
Cymbulia Peronii (sea butterfly)

In 2021, the Great Paper Boat (Argonauta argo) was the winner in the mollusc contest. In 2022, five new mollusc species will compete in a public vote for the title of "Mollusc of the Year 2022". They were selected from around 50 nominations from all over the world by a jury consisting of scientists from the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (TBG) and the world-wide Society for Mollusc Research (Unitas Malacolgica). The entire genetic information for the winning species will be decoded, enabling a comparative analysis to explore the genomic diversity of molluscs.

The vote will take place from February 25 to March 15, 2022 on the website of the LOEWE Center TBG. Further information about the nominated molluscs is also compiled there. The "Mollusc of the Year 2022" will be announced on March 18, 2022. 

Hardly any other group of creatures is as diverse and species rich as the molluscs, which form the second largest animal phylum after the arthropods. However, although they often vary greatly in size, shape, behavior and preferred habitats, they have neither bones nor teeth. Their bodies consist only of a head, a muscle (“foot”) for locomotion, and a sac for their intestines. The habitat of the molluscs is mainly the water. Molluscs have existed for 500 million years, but are largely unexplored from a genomic point of view. A complete sequencing of the genomes of one of these specimens is still an exception. The aim of the competition is to draw more attention to the group of molluscs and at the same time focus on the sequencing of the genome.

Dr Julia Sigwart, Head of the Malacology Department at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, explains: “With the project we want to promote research on different mollusc species. The analysis of the genomes provides important insights into their evolution and adaptation strategies. Therefore, the entire genome of the mollusc that wins the competition will be sequenced via the LOEWE Centre TBG.”