Friday, February 18, 2011


There was no rain, and we weren’t on the plain! Western Society of Malacologists’ members Dr. Ángel Valdés, my wife Rosa del Carmen Campay, and I were in Vigo, on the northwest corner of Spain (approximately 42º 13' N; 8º 45' W). Located on the south side of an elongate bay, Vigo has been a major maritime port and fishing region for centuries. Due west, guarding the bay’s entrance to the Atlantic Ocean, are the two granitic islands that form the Cíes Archipelago, part of Galicia’s Atlantic Islands Land-Maritime National Park.

We were attending the Third International Workshop of Opisthobranchs (1-4 September 2010). Our dear friend and colleague Dr. Jesús S. Troncoso (Professor in the Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, of the Universidade de Vigo) was the organizing Chairman of this international event. Fellow participants were from a diversity of countries–especially Denmark, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, and the USA. Topics covered the gamut of opisthobranch (sensu lato en extremis!) research topics, from the molecular to the provincial levels of organization and interactions. Check out the website of the Workshop: for more details. Clicking on the links Post-Workshop and Book of Abstracts will provide numerous photographs of the participants, and the abstracts of the oral and poster presentations.

Doing science is hard work—from the field to the lab, to writing and to disseminating the results. To ease the pain, Jesús, Vice Chairman Dr. Victoriano Urgorri, and other members of the organizing committee provided numerous spectacular social events. We had a wine and cheese Mayor’s Reception at the historic “Quiñones de Leon” Municipal Museum, a guided visit to the Museo do Mar de Galicia, and enjoyed a multi-course banquet dinner at the Royal Yacht Club, which featured local marine invertebrates and fish in gourmet local sauces. We had a nudibranch observing/collecting scuba dive, and a daylong sailboat cruise to and meander on the Cíes Islands National Park. All these were in addition to the 3 days of conference sessions.

Studying mollusks has it rewards.

Hans Bertsch

Conference participants at the Cíes Islands National Park

Sea slug scuba divers, Hans and Alexander Martynov

Hans and Rosa, and Jules Verne; in front of the Royal Yacht Club, Vigo

At the poster session (from left to right): Heike Wägele, Rosa Campay, Margherita Gavagnin, Susanne Gunkel and Ángel Valdés

Marine station of the Universidade de Vigo and city hills

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