Fruitful collaboration between MFRI and Belgian zoologists

Christiane Delongueville and Jónbjörn Pálsson Christiane Delongueville and Jónbjörn Pálsson

Christiane Delongueville and Roland Scaillet are Belgian zoologists 1974 graduates of the « Université Libre de Bruxelles ». Parallel to their careers in the pharmaceutical industry they developed since the eighties a passion for Malacology and especially for the zoological distribution of European Molluscs, their relations with animals from other phyla and the invasive phenomenon related to human activities or climate modifications.

Christiane DelonguevilleRoland Scaillet

Now retired they are active members of the “Société Royale Belge de Malacologie” (SRBM), members of its board of directors, scientific collaborators of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and members of diverse Malacological Societies. They have published more than 60 articles in Arion, Novapex, Neptunea, La Conchiglia and Xenophora. A lot of them are written in French others in English and can be found on the site of ResearchGate or on the one of the VLIZ – Flanders Marine Institute – Platform for Marine Research

Their interest for the North European fauna started for both of them at the occasion of trips made to Ireland and Scotland. Christiane was rapidly attracted by the Nordic countries. She went to the Faroe Islands, to Svalbard, to the Barents Sea, to East Greenland and to Iceland where she devotes about fifteen visits. From 1994 to 2014 these two Biologists specialized themselves in the identification and determination of the molluscan coastal fauna of Iceland.

Christiane met Jónbjörn today retired from the MFRI, during the 2010 Fishermen’s day in Reykjavik. He gave her access to the benthic malacological fauna of Iceland by collecting molluscs during the annual campaigns organised by the MFRI in order to evaluate the fish stocks around Iceland. This was the beginning of a collaboration which still lasts today.

These samplings made on the Research Vessels of the MFRI or on trawlers were the opportunity to inventory the molluscs brought back by the MFRI nets and to start a study on their distribution all around Iceland.

With the exception of a few works carried out by Thorson (1941) and Madsen (1949) about the Zoology of Iceland, it was the distinguished Icelandic botanist and conchologist Ingimar Óskarsson who was the first to collect in a book the marine malacological data from Iceland (Skeldyrafana islands 1952/1962).

Armed with these documents, the subsequent works of Anders Warén, New and little known molluscs from Iceland and Scandinavia (1989, 1991, 1993, and 1996) and other publications, Christiane and Roland produced annual reports and documented on individual maps the repartition of 174 species of molluscs brought today by the MFRI. Publications were also written about exceptional catches in Icelandic waters all referring to MFRI.

Adepts of photography and graphic design software, they have illustrated on posters year after year the material collected since 2013 by the MFRI biologists. Recently, information from the analysis of the stomach contents of flat fish and haddocks has been added to their faunistic inventory. A project to publish these data in the MFRI inhouse report-series in collaboration with Steinunn Hilma Ólafsdóttir is underway. They will also provide photographs of the molluscs collected to Svanhildur Egilsdóttir so that she will be able to put them on the site. This project would never have seen possible without the precise help provided by the MFRI collaborators, Jónbjörn Pálsson, Steinunn Hilma Ólafsdóttir, Bylgja Sif Jónsdóttir, Guðjón Már Sigurðsson and Jón Sólmundsson.

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