Land-snail diversity in Coastal East AfricaStaff: Ben Rowson
This is a partnership project with University of Reunion (UR) and University of Florida (UF), as part of their initiative titled Evolutionary Radiation of Indian Ocean Invertebrates and Amgueddffa Cymru's project on the Molluscan Biodiversity of East Africa Forests.
The Shimba Hills in Kenya are known to be home to several snail taxa such as Gonospira expatriata, a mysterious streptaxid whose relationships to the Indian Ocean islands are especially controversial. They have not been seriously surveyed for land-snails since the first two decades of the 20th century. The area is a National Park. Pemba Island in Tanzania is famous for several endemic vertebrates and plants, and some unique vegetation types. Geologically it is far older than Zanzibar and other East African islands, and is thus intermediate in age between East Africa and Mauritius. Several freshwater malacologists have visited Pemba in recent years but Ben Rowson's overview of Coastal East Africa confirmed that land-snail surveys on Pemba have been negligible. It is highly likely that samples from Pemba will contain undescribed taxa and may provide insights on the evolution of land-snails across the African-Indian Ocean region.