SOSA – Senckenberg Ocean Species Alliance


SOSA is located in the Department of Marine Zoology at Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. We work closely with members of all other sections, especially Malacology, Crustacea and Marine Invertebrates II (Polychataeta).

On this page you will find the team members funded by the SOSA project, many of whom work together with other Senckenberg sections.

SOSA Core Team

Prof. Dr.  Julia Sigwart
SOSA co-chair / Malacology Section

Research interests

My group works on the evolution of diversity in molluscs and other marine invertebrates. Morphology shapes how each species responds to environmental change, in the modern world and in the fossil record. We often focus on very strange body forms, like bivalved gastropods, or apparently conservative forms, like chitons. We use tomography (right) to visualise animal adaptations in 3D and understand the world from other organisms’ points of view.

Understanding evolutionary radiations, survivorship, and the way animals respond to environmental change, require high resolution data from multiple disciplines, and the research infrastructure in museum collections. The work in my research group crosses genetics, morphology, anatomy, neurobiology, physiology, computational modelling, and experimental approaches, to understand species diversity.

Some of these are discussed in my recent book, What Species Mean: A User’s Guide to the Units of Biodiversity, published by CRC/Taylor & Francis in early 2018.

 Teaching & Student opportunities

 We welcome interest from prospective PhD, MSc, BSc, or volunteer and internship projects. Topics include

  • Genomics
  • Systematics of polyplacophoran molluscs
  • Red List assessments of deep sea invertebrates
  • Neural architechture
  • 3D morphology
  • Collections data and collections care

Taxa described

Identifying and naming species is a fundamental aspect of understanding biodiversity. These are the species and genus names of polyplacophoran molluscs named by Dr Sigwart:

Fossil genera

  • Kulindroplax Sutton, Briggs, Siveter, Siveter & Sigwart, 2012
  • Phthipodochiton Sutton & Sigwart, 2012

Living species

  • Crassostrea (Magallana) saidii Wong & Sigwart in Sigwart, Wong & Esa, 2021
  • Sakuraeolis arcana Ellis-Diamond, Picton, Tiberica & Sigwart, 2021
  • Hanleyella henrici Sigwart & C. Chen, 2018
  • Callochiton stefaniae Dell’Angelo, Renda, Sosso, Sigwart & Giacobbe, 2017
  • Leptochiton cascadiensis Sigwart & C. Chen, 2017
  • Leptochiton rogeri Sigwart & Sirenko, 2015
  • Leptochiton consimilis Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012
  • Leptochiton angustidens Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012
  • Leptochiton dykei Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012
  • Leptochiton samadiae Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012
  • Leptochiton longisetosus Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012
  • Leptochiton clarki Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012
  • Leptochiton schwabei Sigwart & Sirenko, 2012

Fossil species

  • Kulindroplax perissokomos Sutton, Briggs, Siveter, Siveter & Sigwart, 2012
  • Leptochiton faksensis Sigwart, Anderson & Schnetler, 2007
  • 2020 – present, Head of Section, Malacology, Senckenberg Research Institute
  • 2019 – 2021, NERC Advisory Network (National Environment Research Council UK)
  • 2018 – present, Pool of Experts, United Nations World Ocean Assessment
  • 2018 – present, Elected Trustee, Deep Sea Biology Society
  • 2014 – 2020, Elected Secretary, International Society for Invertebrate Morphology
  • 2010 – 2019, Elected Council Member/Officer, Unitas Malacologica (world mollusc society)
  • 2019 – present, Visiting Professor, Yunnan University, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Kunming, China
  • 2010 – present, Honorary Associate Professor, School of University College Dublin, Ireland
  • 2009 – present, Associate / Assistant Professor of Marine Biology, Queen’s University Belfast
  • 2009 – 2019, Director, Queen’s University Belfast, Marine Laboratory, Portaferry
  • 2003 – 2009, Researcher, National Museum of Ireland & University College Dublin (head of Collections-based Biology in Dublin)
  • 2004 – 2008, Ph.D. (part time), Queen’s University Belfast
  • 2001 – 2003 ,Collections manager (Mollusca), American Museum of Natural History
  • 1997 – 2001, B.Sc. (hons), Biology & Mathematics, University of Victoria, Canada





Sigwart, JD (2018): What Species Mean: A User’s Guide to the Units of Biodiversity. — CRC Press / Taylor & Francis. 241 pp.

IUCN Red List global assessments:

Sigwart JD,C Chen, & EA Thomas* (2019): Chrysomallon squamiferum. — The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T103636217A103636261

Journal articles and book chapters:

113. Thomas, E.A., Böhm, M., Pollock, C., Chen, C., Seddon, M. & Sigwart, J.D. (2021): Assessing the extinction risk of insular, under-studied species in the deep sea. — Conservation Biology.

112.  Stefanoudis, P.V., Biancani, L.M., Cambronero-Solano, S., Clark, M., Copley, J.T, Easton, E.,  Elmer, F., Haddock, S.H.D., Herrera, S., Iglesias, I.S., Quattrini, A. M., Sigwart, J., Yesson, C. & Glover, A.G. (2021): Moving conferences online: lessons learned from an international virtual meeting. — Proc Roy Soc B., 288: 20211769.  doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1769

111. Sigwart, J.D., Wong, N.L.W.S. & Esa, Y. (2021): Global controversy in oyster systematics and a newly described species from SE Asia (Bivalvia: Ostreidae: Crassostreinae). — Marine Biodiversity, 51: 83. doi: 10.1007/s12526-021-01203-x

110.  Sirenko, B.I. & Sigwart, J.D. (2021): Leptochiton subrugatus sp. nov. (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) from low boreal waters of the northern Pacific. — Marine Biodiversity, 51: 64. doi: 10.1007/s12526-021-01190-z

109. Ellis-Diamond, D.C., Picton, B.E., Tibiriçá, Y. & Sigwart, J.D. (2021): A new species of Sakuraeolis from Mozambique, described using 3D reconstruction of anatomy and phylogenetic analysis. —  Journal of Molluscan Studies, 87. eyab010. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyab010

108. Ricart, A.M., Gaylord, B., Hill, T.M., Sigwart, J.D., Shukla, P., Ward, M., Ninokawa, A. & Sanford, E. (2021): Seagrass‑driven changes in carbonate chemistry enhance oyster shell growth. — Oecologia.

107. Sigwart, J.D., Lindberg, D.R., Chen, C. & Sun, J. (2021): Molluscan phylogenomics requires strategically elected genomes. — Phil. Trans. R. Soc., B 376: 20200161.

106. Sigwart, J.D. & Sumner-Rooney, L. (2021): Continuous and Regular Expansion of a Distributed Visual System in the Eyed Chiton Tonicia lebruni. — Biol. Bull., 240. DOI: 10.1086/712114

105. Sun, J., Li, R., Chen, C., Sigwart, J.D. & Kocot, K.M. (2021): Benchmarking Oxford Nanopore read assemblers for high-quality molluscan genomes. — Phil. Trans. R. Soc.,  B 376: 20200160.

104. Sigwart, J.D., Blasiak, R., Jaspers, M., Jouffray, J.-B. & Tasdemir, D. (2020): Unlocking the potential of marine biodiscovery. — Natural Product Reports. DOI: 10.1039/d0np00067a

103. Howell K, A Hilario, AL Allcock, D Bailey, M Baker, M Clark, A Colaço, J Copley, E Cordes, R Danovaro, A Dissanayake, E Escobar, P Esquete, A Gallagher, A Gates, S Gaudron, C German, K Gjerde, N Higgs, N Le Bris, L Levin, E Manea, C McClain, L Menot, N Mestre, A Metaxas, R Milligan, A Muthumbi, B Narayanaswamy, S Ramalho, E Ramirez-Llodra, L Robson, A Rogers, J Sellanes, J Sigwart, K Sink, P Snelgrove, P Stefanoudis, P Sumida, M Taylor, A Thurber, R Vieira, H Watanabe, L Woodall, J Xavier (2020): Blueprint for a Decade to Study Deep-Sea Life. — Nature Ecology and Evolution.

102. Thomas, E.A., Liu, R., Amon, D., Copley, J.T., Glover, A.G., Heylar, S.J., Olu, K., Wiklund, H., Zhang, H., & Sigwart, J.D. (2020): Chiridota heheva – the cosmopolitan holothurian. — Marine Biodiversity. 50:110

101. Sigwart J.D., Lundy, M., Dick, J.T.A., Becker, C. (2020): Declining female size at onset of maturity in Nephrops norvegicus in long term surveys (1997-2016). — ICES Journal of Marine Science. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsaa185

100. Howell, K.L., Hilário, A., Allcock, A.L., Bailey, D., Baker, M., Clark, M.R., Colaço, A., Copley, J., Cordes, E., Danovaro, R., Dissanayake, A., Escobar-Briones, I.G., Esquete Garrote, P., Gallagher, A., Gates, A.R., Gaudron, S.M., German, C., Gjerde, K., Higgs, N.D., Le Bris, N., Levin, L.A., Manea, E., McClain, C.R., Menot, L., Mestre, N.C., Metaxas, A., Milligan, R.J., Muthumbi, A.W., Narayanaswamy, B.E., Ramalho, S., Ramirez-Llodra, E., Robson, L., Rogers, A.D., Sellanes, J., Sigwart, J.D., Sink, K.J., Snelgrove, P.V., Stefanoudis, P.V., Sumida, P.Y., Taylor, M.L., Thurber, A.R., Vieira, R., Watanabe, H.K., Woodall, L.C. & Xavier, J.R. (2020): A blueprint for an inclusive, global deep-sea Ocean Decade field programme.  ─ Frontiers in Marine Science; doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.584861

99. Penney B, JD Sigwart, DY Parkinson (2020): Spicules and skeletons: Mantle musculature of two species of dorid nudibranchs (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia: Doridina). — Canadian Journal of Zoology. 98: 777–786, doi:10.1139/cjz-2019-0295

98. Cunningham, E.M., Ehlers, S.M., Dick, J.T.A., Sigwart, J.D., Linse, K., Dick, J.J., Kiriakoulakis, K. (2020): Deep-sea sediments as a sink for microplastic pollution: Evidence from Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. — Environmental Science & Technology.

97. Becker, C., Dick, J.T.A., Cunningham, E.M., Lundy, M., Bell, E., Eagling, L. & Sigwart, J.D. (2020): Ovary resorption in the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) and its possible causes with special reference to sperm storage. — Helgoland Marine Research, 74: 12.

96. Linse, K. & Sigwart, J.D. & Chen, C. & Krylova, E. (2020): Ecophysiology and ecological limits of symbiotrophic vesicomyid bivalves (Pliocardiinae) in the Southern Ocean. — Polar Biology. 10.1007/s00300-020-02717-z.

95. Ibáñez CM, C Pardo-Gandarillas, J Sellanes, JD Sigwart, BI Sirenko (2020): Phylogenetic position and morphological descriptions of Chiton species from the Southeastern Pacific. — Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

94. Sun, J., Chen, C., Miyamoto, N., Li, R., Sigwart, J.D., Xu, T., Sun, Y., Wong, Y.C., Ip, J.C.H., Zhang, W., Lan, Y., Bissessur, D., Watsuji, T., Watanabe, H.K., Takaki, Y., Qiu, J.-W., Takai, K., Qian, P.Y. (2020): The Scaly-foot Snail genome and the ancient origins of biomineralized armour. — Nature Communications. 11: 1657

93. Ashton EC, S Guist*, D Roberts, JD Sigwart (2020): Effects of environmental factors and husbandry practices on summer mortality events in the cultivated Pacific Oyster Crassostrea gigas in the North of Ireland. — Journal of Shellfish Research. 39(1): 13-20.

92. Cunningham EM, Kiriakoulakis K, Dick JT, Kregting L, Schuchert P, Sigwart JD (2020): Driven by speculation, not by impact–the effects of plastic on fish species. — Journal of Fish Biology. doi: 10.1111/jfb.14303

91 . Linse K, G Bohrmann, JD Sigwart (2019): Eualus amandae (Decapoda: Caridea: Thoridae) is an indicator of active venting sites in the Southern Ocean. — Marine Biodiversity. 49: 2937-2942

90 . Sigwart JD, GJ Vermeij, P Hoyer* (2019): Why do chitons curl into a ball? — Biology Letters. 15(10): 20190429. 

89. Ibáñez CM, Waldisperg M, Torres FI, Carrasco SA, Sellanes J, Pardo-Gandarillas MC, Sigwart JD (2019): Environmental and ecological factors mediate taxonomic composition and body size of polyplacophoran assemblages along the Peruvian Province. — Scientific Reports. 9: 15934.

88 . Cunningham EM*, JD Sigwart (2019): Environmentally accurate microplastic levels and their absence from exposure studies. — Integrative and Comparative Biology.

87 . Morrow C, P Cárdenas, N Boury-Esnault, B Picton, G McCormack, R Van Soest, N Redmond, A Collins, C Maggs, JD Sigwart, AL Allcock (2019): Integrating morphological and molecular taxonomy with the revised concept of Stelligeridae (Porifera: Demospongiae). — Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

86 . Sigwart JD, C Chen, EA Thomas*, AL Allcock, M Böhm, M Seddon (2019): Red Listing can protect deep-sea biodiversity. — Nature Ecology & Evolution. 

85 . Wong NLWS, JD Sigwart (2019): Natural history clues to the evolution of bivalved gastropods (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Sacoglossa: Juliidae). — Marine Biodiversity.

84 . Kingston ACN, JD Sigwart, DR Chappell, DI Speiser (2019): Monster or multiplacophoran: A teratological specimen of the chiton Acanthopleura granulata with a valve split into independent and symmetrical halves. — Acta Zoologica.

83 . Sigwart JD, C Chen (2018): A new deep water chiton (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) from hydrothermal vent ecosystems in the Okinawa Trough, Japan. Zootaxa. 4531: 430–436

82. Becker C, EM Cunningham*, JTA Dick, LE Eagling, JD Sigwart (2018): A unified scale for female reproductive stages in Nephrops norvegicus: evidence from macroscopic and microscopic characterisation. — Journal of Morphology.

81. Sigwart JD, C Chen (2018): Comparative oxygen consumption of gastropod holobionts from deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean. — Biological Bulletin.

80. Sigwart JD, KD Bennett, SM Edie, L Mander, B Okamura, K Padian, Q Wheeler, J Winston, N Yeung (2018): Measuring biodiversity and extinction – present and past. — Integrative and Comparative Biology.

79. Becker C, JTA Dick, EM Cunningham*, C Schmitt, JD Sigwart (2018): The crustacean cuticle does not record chronological age: new evidence from the gastric mill ossicles. — Arthropod Structure and Development.

78. Chen C, K Uematsu, K Linse, JD Sigwart (2018): Cryptic niche switching in a chemosymbiotic gastropod. — Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

77. Sigwart JD, A Garbett* (2018): Biodiversity assessment, DNA barcoding, and the minority majority. — Integrative and Comparative Biology.

76. Sumner-Rooney LH, JD Sigwart (2018): Do chitons have a brain? New evidence for diversity and complexity in the polyplacophoran central nervous system. — Journal of Morphology.

75. Sigwart JD, MK Wicksten, MG Jackson, S Herrera. 2018. Deep-sea video technology tracks a monoplacophoran to the end of its trail. — Marine Biodiversity.

74. Sumner-Rooney LH, I Rahman, JD Sigwart, E Ullrich-Lüter (2018): Whole-body photoreceptor networks are independent of crystalline ‘lenses’ in brittle stars. — Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285: 20172590.

73. Eagling* LE, EC Ashton, AC Jensen, JD Sigwart, D Murray, D Roberts (2017): Spatial and temporal differences in gonad development, sex ratios and reproductive output influence the sustainability of exploited populations of the European oyster, Ostrea edulis. — Aquatic Conservation.

72. South* J, D Welsh, A Anton, JD Sigwart, JTA Dick (2017): Effects of increasing temperature to the functional response of the intertidal shanny Lipophrys pholis. — Journal of Fish Biology.

71. Dell’Angelo B, W Renda, M Sosso, JD Sigwart, S Giacobbe (2017): A new species of Callochiton (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) from the Strait of Messina (central Mediterranean). — Archiv für Molluskenkunde. 146: 243–250.

70. Ibáñez CM, RD Sepúlveda, JD Sigwart (2017): Comparative allometric variation in intertidal chitons (Polyplacophora: Chitonidae). — Zoomorphology.

69. Sigwart JD, MD Sutton, KD Bennett (2017): How big is a genus? Towards a nomothetic systematics. — Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

68. Sigwart JD, Schwabe E (2017): Anatomy of the many feeding types in polyplacophoran molluscs. — Invertebrate Zoology, 14: 205–216

67. Sigwart JD. (2017): Molluscs all beneath the sun, one shell, two shells, more, or none. — Current Biology. 27: R708–R710.

66. Sumner-Rooney LH, JD Sigwart (2017): Lazarus in the museum: resurrecting historic specimens through new technology. — Invertebrate Zoology.

65. Sigwart JD, Chen C. (2017): Life history, patchy distribution, and patchy taxonomy in a shallow-water invertebrate (Mollusca: Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida). — Marine Biodiversity.

64. Sigwart JD, L McLean* (2017): Contribution of Caulerpa spp. to marine mollusc species richness in the megadiverse Philippines. — Visaya.

63. Sigwart JD, C Chen, L Marsh (2017): Is mining the seabed bad for molluscs? — The Nautilus.

62. Chen C, K Uematsu, K Linse, JD Sigwart (2017): By more ways than one: Rapid convergence in adaptations to hydrothermal vents shown by 3D anatomical reconstruction of Gigantopelta (Mollusca: Neomphalina). — BMC Evolutionary Biology.

61. Geraldi N, C Bertollini*, MC Emmerson, D Roberts, JD Sigwart, NE O’Connor (2017): Aggregations of brittle stars can provide similar ecological roles as mussel reefs. — Marine Ecology Progress Series.

60. Sigwart JD, LH Sumner-Rooney, J Dickey*, N Carey (2017): The scaphopod foot is ventral: more evidence from the anatomy of Rhabdus rectius (Dentaliida: Rhabdidae). — Molluscan Research.

59. Carey N, S Dupont, JD Sigwart (2016): Sea hare Aplysia punctata (Mollusca: Gastropoda) can maintain shell calcification under extreme ocean acidification. — Biological Bulletin.

58. Sigwart JD (2016): The chiton stripe tease. — Marine Biodiversity.

57. Sumner-Rooney* LH, JD Sigwart, L Smith, J McAfee*, ST Williams (2016): Repeated eye reduction events reveal multiple pathways to degeneration in a family of marine snails. — Evolution.

56. Sigwart JD (2016): Deep trees: woodfall biodiversity dynamics in present and past oceans. — Deep Sea Research Part II.

55. Sirenko BI, JD Sigwart, B Dell’Angelo (2016): Hanleya hanleyi Bean in Thorpe, 1844 (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) and the influence of the Gulf Stream System on its distribution. — Ruthenica.

54. Calderwood* J, JD Sigwart (2016): Broken pieces: Can variable ecological interactions be deduced from the remains of crab attacks on bivalve shells? — Lethaia.

53. Sigwart, JD, LH Sumner-Rooney* (2016): Mollusca: Caudofoveata, Monoplacophora, Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, Solenogastres. — In: Schmidt-Rhaesa, Harzsch, and Purschke, eds., Structure and Evolution of Invertebrate Nervous Systems. Oxford University Press. [book chapter]

52. Green, DS, B Boots, JD Sigwart, S Jiang, C Rocha (2016): Effects of conventional and biodegradable microplastics on a marine ecosystem engineer and nutrient cycling. — Environmental Pollution Bulletin.

51. Sigwart, JD, G Lyons*, A Fink, MA Gutowska, D Murray, F Melzner, JDR Houghton, MY Hu(2016): Elevated pCO2 drives lower growth and yet increased calcification in the early life history of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). — ICES Journal of Marine Science.

50. Sigwart, JD, PA Green*, SB Crofts (2015): Functional morphology in chitons (Mollusca, Polyplacophora): influences of environment and ocean acidification. — Marine Biology.

49. Sumner-Rooney*,LH, M Schrödl, E Lodde-Bensch, DR Lindberg, M Heß, GP Brennan, JD Sigwart (2015): A neurophylogenetic approach provides new insight to the evolution of Scaphopoda. — Evolution & Development.

48. Cledón, M, JD Núñeza, EH Ocampoa, JD Sigwart (2015): Sexual traits plasticity of the potentially invasive limpet Bostrycapulus odites (Gastropoda: Calyptraeidae) within its natural distribution in South America. — Marine Ecology.

47. Chen*, C, JT Copley, K Linse, AD Rogers, JD Sigwart (2015):. The heart of a dragon: 3D anatomical reconstruction of the ‘scaly-foot gastropod’ (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Neomphalina) reveals its extraordinary circulatory system. — Frontiers in Zoology.

46. Sigwart, JD, BI Sirenko (2015): A new name for the deep-sea chiton Leptochiton clarki Sigwart & Sirenko non Berry (Lepidopleurida: Leptochitonidae). — Zootaxa.

45. Sumner-Rooney*, LH, JD Sigwart (2015): Is the Schwabe organ a retained larval eye? Anatomical and behavioural studies of a novel sense organ in adult Leptochiton asellus (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) indicate links to larval photoreceptors. — PLoS ONE.

44. Lindberg, DR, JD Sigwart (2015): What is the molluscan osphradium? A reconsideration of homology. — Zoologischer Anzeiger.

43. Chen*, C, JT Copley, K Linse, AD Rogers, JD Sigwart (2015): How the mollusc got its scales: convergent evolution of the molluscan scleritome. — Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

42. Sigwart, JD, DR Lindberg (2015): Consensus and confusion in molluscan trees: Evaluating morphological and molecular phylogenies. — Systematic Biology.

41. Sigwart, JD, C Todt, A Scheltema (2014): Who are the “Aculifera”? Journal of Natural History.

40. Carey*, N, JD Sigwart (2014): Size matters: body size modulates responses to ocean acidification and temperature. — Biology Letters.

39. Kunc, HP, GN Lyons*, JD Sigwart, KE McLaughlin, JDR Houghton (2014): Anthropogenic noise affects behaviour across sensory modalities. — American Naturalist.

38. Sigwart, JD, N Carey* (2014): Grazing under experimental hypercapnia and elevated temperature does not affect the radula of a chiton (Mollusca, Polyplacophora, Lepidopleurida). — Marine Environmental Research.

37. Calderwood*, J, NE O’Connor, JD Sigwart, D Roberts (2014): Determining optimal duration of seed translocation periods for benthic mussel (Mytilus edulis) cultivation using physiological and behavioural measures of stress. — Aquaculture.

36. Carey*, N, S Dupont, B Lundve, JD Sigwart (2014): One size fits all: stability of metabolic scaling under warming and ocean acidification in echinoderms. — Marine Biology.

35. Sumner-Rooney*,LH , JA Murray, SD Cain, JD Sigwart (2014): Do chitons have a compass? Evidence for magnetic sensitivity in Polyplacophora. — Journal of Natural History.

34. Sumner-Rooney*, LH, SD Cain, GP Brennan, JD Sigwart (2014): A test for mucus removal in the chiton Lepidochitona cinerea (Linnaeus, 1767) (Polyplacophora: Chitonida: Ischnochitonidae). — The Veliger.

33. Sigwart, JD, N Carey*, PJ Orr (2014): How subtle are the biases that shape the fidelity of the fossil record? A test using marine molluscs. — Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

32. Sigwart, JD, LH Sumner-Rooney*, E Schwabe, M Hess, G Brennan, M Schroedl (2014): A new sensory organ in “primitive” molluscs (Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida), and its context in the nervous system of chitons. — Frontiers in Zoology.

31. Sigwart, JD, I Stoeger*, T Knebelsberger, E Schwabe (2013): Chiton phylogeny (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) and placement of the enigmatic species Choriplax grayi (H Adams & Angas, 1864). — Invertebrate Systematics.

30. Stöger*, I, JD Sigwart, Y Kano, T Knebelsberger, BA Marshall, E Schwabe, M Schrödl (2013): The continuing debate on deep molluscan phylogeny: Evidence for Serialia (Mollusca, Monoplacophora + Polyplacophora). — BioMed Research.

29. Ávila, SP, JD Sigwart (2013): New records for the shallow-water chiton fauna (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) of the Azores. — ZooKeys.

28. Morrow*, CC, NE Redmond, BE Picton, RW Thacker, AG Collins, CA Maggs, JD Sigwart, AL Allcock (2013): Molecular phylogenies support homoplasy of multiple morphological characters used in the taxonomy of Heteroscleromorpha (Porifera: Demospongiae). — Integrative and Comparative Biology.

27. Duperron, S, M-A Pottier, N Léger, SM Gaudron, N Puillandre, S Le Prieur, JD Sigwart, J Ravaux, M Zbinden (2013): A tale of two chitons: is habitat specialisation linked to distinct associated bacterial communities? — FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

26. Carey*, N, JD Sigwart, J Richards (2013): Economies of scaling: allometry of metabolism is linked to activity, metabolic rate and habitat. — Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

25. Sutton, MD, DEG Briggs, David J Siveter, Derek J Siveter, JD Sigwart (2012): A Silurian armoured aplacophoran: implications for molluscan phylogeny. — Nature.

24. Carey*, N, A Galkin, P Henrikkson*, J Richards, JD Sigwart (2012): Variation in oxygen consumption among ‘living fossils'(Mollusca: Polyplacophora). — Journal of the Marine Biology Association of the UK.

23. Sigwart, JD, BI Sirenko (2012): Deep-sea chitons from sunken wood in the West Pacific (Mollusca: Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida): taxonomy, distribution, and seven new species. — Zootaxa.

22. Doonan*, J, G Beatty, JD Sigwart, J Provan (2012): Extensive local-scale gene flow and long-term population stability in the intertidal mollusc Katharina tunicata (Mollusca: Polyplacophora). — Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

21. Sutton, MD, JD Sigwart (2012): A chiton without a foot. — Palaeontology.

20. Yearsley, JM, JD Sigwart (2011): Larval transport modelling of deep-sea invertebrates points to potential undiscovered populations. — PLoS ONE.

19. Donovan, SK, MD Sutton, JD Sigwart (2011): The last meal of the Late Ordovician mollusc ‘Helminthochitonthraivensis Reed, 1911, from the Lady Burn Starfish Beds, southwest Scotland. — Geological Journal.

18. Sigwart, JD, E Schwabe, H Saito, S Samadi, G Giribet (2011): Evolution in the deep sea: combined analysis of the earliest-derived living chitons using molecules and morphology (Mollusca, Polyplacophora, Lepidopleurida). — Invertebrate Systematics. [2011-2013: this paper was in the top-10 ‘Most Read’ articles in Invertebrate Systematics]

17. Donovan, SK, MD Sutton, JD Sigwart (2010): Crinoids for lunch? An unexpected biotic interaction from the Upper Ordovician of Scotland. — Geology.

16. Viscardi, P, M Sakumoto, JD Sigwart (2010):. How long is a piece of Strix? Methods in measuring and measuring the measurers. — Zoomorphology.

15. Sigwart, JD, LM Leonard (2009): Coming out of its shell: Molluscan collections in the National Museum of Ireland. Irish Naturalists’ Journal.

14. Chritz*, KL, GJ Dyke, A Zazzo, AM Lister, NT Monaghan, JD Sigwart (2009): Palaeobiology of an extinct Ice Age mammal: Stable isotope and cementum analysis of giant deer teeth. — Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

13. Sigwart, JD (2009): Primitive living chitons: Morphological cladistic analysis as a model for character evaluation. — American Malacological Bulletin. Proceedings of the symposium ‘Molluscs as Models for Evolution’ Antwerp, 2007.

12. Sigwart, JD (2009): Parasitic foraminifers on a deep-sea chiton (Mollusca, Polyplacophora, Leptochitonidae) from Iceland. — Marine Biology Research.

11. Sigwart, JD (2009): The deep-sea chiton Nierstraszella (Mollusca: Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida) in the Indo-West Pacific: taxonomy, morphology, and a bizarre ectosymbiont. — Journal of Natural History.

10. Sigwart, JD (2008): Gross anatomy and positional homology of gills, gonopores, and nephridiopores in “basal” living chitons (Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurina). — American Malacological Bulletin.

9. Sigwart, JD (2008): Crystal Creatures: Context for the Dublin Blaschka Congress. — Historical Biology.

8. Sigwart, JD, MD Sutton (2007): Deep molluscan phylogeny: Synthesis of palaeontological and neontological data. — Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

7. Voight, JR, JD Sigwart (2007): Scarred limpets at hydrothermal vents: Evidence of predation by deep-sea whelks. — Marine Biology.

6. Sigwart, JD, KI Schnetler, SB Andersen (2007): First record of a chiton from the Palaeocene of Denmark (Polyplacophora: Leptochitonidae) and its phylogenetic affinities. — Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.

5. Sigwart, JD (2007): The Irish fossil Polyplacophora. — Irish Journal of Earth Sciences.

4. Sigwart, JD (2007): Hidden biodiversity: Chitons in Ireland. pp. 18–20 In R Moles, ed. — Proceedings of ESAI/ENVIRON 2005. University of Limerick.

3. Viscardi, P, JD Sigwart, NT Monaghan (2006): Climate control in an uncontrollable building. — Collections Forum.

2. Sigwart, JD, E Callaghan, A Colla*, GJ Dyke, SL McCaffrey* NT Monaghan (2005): Belatedly hatching ornithology collections at the National Museum of Ireland. — Zoologische Mededelingen.

1. Dyke, GJ, JD Sigwart (2005): A search for a ‘smoking gun’: No need for an alternative to the Linnaean System of classification. pp. 49–65 — In: A Minelli, G Ortalli and G Sanga, eds. Animal Names, proceedings of the International Conference Animal Names organised by Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Venice. [Book chapter]


Dr.  Torben Riehl
SOSA co-chair / Crustacea Section


Die teils hohe Artenvielfalt am Meeresboden der Tiefsee erscheint im Widerspruch zur großflächigen Eintönigkeit dieses Lebensraums. Durch meine Forschung trage ich zu einem besseren Verständnis der Ursprünge der benthonischen Artenvielfalt in der Tiefsee bei, vor allem in Meeresgebieten unterhalb von 3500 m, dem sogenannten Abyssal.

Insbesondere widme ich mich der krebstiergruppe der Asseln (Isopoda), die im Abyssal besonders Artenreich auftritt. Anhand ihrer ökologischen, evolutiven und biogeographischen Muster teste ich Annahmen über die Besiedlungsgeschichte der Tiefsee, ihre stammesgeschichtlichen Ursprünge, sowie Hypothesen zur Artbildung und Koexistenz.

Meine aktuellen Projekte thematisieren die Auswirkung unterseeischer Strukturen, wie Gebirgsrücken und Tiefseegräben (Meeresbodentopografie) auf Artverbreitung, Populationsdifferenzierung und Artbildung. Außerdem wird der Einfluss von Habitatvielfalt auf die Artenvielfalt untersucht. Diese Studien vereinen Methoden verschiedener Disziplinen, wie der Phylogenetik, Ökologie, Taxonomie, Zoogeografie, Ozeanographie, Geologie, Geografie und Populationsgenetik.


Aktuelle Forschungsprojekte

  • Senckenberg Ocean Species Alliance- SOSA
  • Rocky seafloor —Underestimated driver for Benthic Biodiversity Living in the abyss and its Evolution—RUBBLE (coming soon)
  • Kuril Kamchatka Biodiversity Studies II — KuramBio II
  • Origins of Deep-Sea Biodiversity — A Crustacean Perspective
  • Biogeography, systematics and evolution of Macrostylidae (Crustacea: Isopoda)


Themen für Abschlussarbeiten

Verschiedene Themen im Zusammenhang mit den oben genannten Forschungsprojekten können im Rahmen von Bachelor- und Masterarbeiten sowie Praktika unter meiner Betreuung erforscht werden. Diese Arbeiten setzen sich in der Regel mit Taxonomie (z.B. Artbeschreibungen), Faunistik, Systematik und Biogeographie von Isopoda (Asseln) auseinander.


Beispiele für erfolgreich abgeschlossene und im Anschluss publizierte Bachelorarbeiten:


Beispiele für erfolgreich abgeschlossene und im Anschluss publizierte Masterarbeiten:


Doktorarbeiten setzen eine sorgfältige Planung voraus. Ich bin gerne bereit, Projektideen zu diskutieren und gemeinsam mit potentiellen Kandidat*innen zu entwickeln. Für Anfragen per Email stehe ich gerne bereit. 


Jedes Sommersemester unterrichte ich im Fachbereich Biowissenschaften an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.

Im Bachelorstudiengang Biowissenschaften betreue ich einen Kurs im Bachelormodul 6b „Diversität der Organismen: Zoologie“. Im Rahmen von Exkursionen, Vorlesungen und eines Praktikums behandle ich die Systematik und Anatomie wichtiger Tierstämme und unterrichte Bestimmungsübungen. Bestimmt wird anhand der äußeren Morphologie sowie anhand von Vogelgesängen und -rufen. 

Für das Mastermodul Evo-11 „Integrative Biodiversitätsforschung in der Zoologie“ habe ich mit Frau Professor Brandt einen interaktiven und sehr praxisorientierten Kursteil entworfen, der innerhalb von zwei Wochen alle wichtigen Arbeitsschritte der taxonomisch-systematischen Erforschung von Tiefseemakrofauna vermittelt. Die Teilnehmer sortieren echte Tiefseeproben, entdecken und bestimmen Organismen daraus und erlernen dann über die Praxis das taxonomische Beschreiben einer Art, das Charakterisieren und kodieren von morphologischen Merkmalen sowie das Erstellen von Bestimmungsschlüsseln.



Seit 2021

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter & stellv. Sektionsleiter, Senckenberg Frankfurt

Co-Vorsitzender Senckenberg Ocean Species Alliance

Seit 2020

Mitglied der Jungen Akademie Mainz

Fellow der Johanna Quandt Young Academy


Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Senckenberg Frankfurt


Post-Doc, Universität Hamburg, Centrum für Naturkunde (CeNak)


Promotion in Biology (Dr. rer. nat.) unter Prof. Dr. Angelika Brandt


Promotionsstipendium, Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes


Geddes Visiting Research Fellowship, Australian Museum


Freiberuflicher Ornithologe


Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Senckenberg am Meer DZMB


Studienabschluss Diplombiologe (Dipl. Biol.), Universität Hamburg


Biologiestudium (Hauptfächer: Zoologie, Hydrobiologie & Fischereiwissenschaften), Universität Hamburg


Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr, Leben mit Behinderung Hamburg


Abitur, Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium Geesthacht


Feldarbeit & Expeditionen

Auf mehreren Reisen war ich an Feldforschung beteiligt und habe ein vielfältiges Spektrum an Sammel- und Messmethoden kennengelernt: im Regenwald Borneos, auf Tauch-Exkursionen und Tiefsee-Expeditionen.



FS Sonne (SO250), Hadalexpedition „KuramBio II“, Nordwestpazifik (41 Tage)


FS Sonne (SO237) Tiefseeexpedition „Vema-TRANSIT“, Nordatlantik (42 Tage)


FS Bjørn Føyn, Projekt „POLYSKAG“, Oslofjord, Norwegen


FS Sonne (SO223), Tiefseeexpedition „KuramBio“, Nordpazifik (49 Tage)


FS Meteor (Me85-3), Tiefseeexpedition „IceAGE“, Nordatlantik (32 Tage)


FS Akademik M.A. Lavrentyev (Lv-51), Tiefseeexp. „SoJaBio“, Japanmeer (25 Tage)


FS Meteor (Me79-1), Tiefseeexpedition „DIVA3“, Südwestatlantik (44 Tage)


Tauchexpedition in den Kornati Nationalpark, Kroatien


FS Polarstern (ANTXXIV-2), Expedition „ANDEEP-SYSTCO“, Südpolarmeer (69 Tage)


Kubah & Gunung Mulu Nationalparks, Malaysia, Herpetologische Expedition


FS Alkor (AL 300), Ausbildungsfahrt Fischereiwissenschaften (10 Tage)



Die Vermittlung von wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen ist mir sehr wichtig. Dabei spielt neben Fachpublikationen, Konferenzvorträgen und universitärer Lehre vor allem die Wissenschaftskommunikation eine wichtige Rolle.

Durch populärwissenschaftliche Publikationen, Führung durch das Senckenbergmuseum und hinter seine Kulissen, öffentliche Vorträge sowie viele weitere Aktivitäten innerhalb und außerhalbs des Museum stehe ich mit der interessierten Gesellschaft im Austausch.

Beispiele aus meinen Tätigkeiten in der Wissenschaftskommunikation:

Vollständiger Lebenslauf



5 wichtigste Publikationen

Riehl T, De Smet B (2020) Macrostylis metallicola spec. nov. — An isopod with geographically clustered genetic variability from a polymetallic-nodule area in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone. PeerJ 8:1–44.


Riehl T, Brandão SN, Brandt A (2020) Conquering the ocean depths over three geological eras. In: Thiel M, Poore GCB (Hrsg.) Evolution and Biogeography. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 155–182


Riehl T, Lins L, Brandt A (2018) The effects of depth, distance, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on genetic differentiation of abyssal and hadal isopods (Macrostylidae). Deep-Sea Res Pt II 148:74–90.


Riehl T, Wilson GDF, Malyutina MV (2014) Urstylidae – A new family of deep-sea isopods and its phylogenetic implications. Zool J Linn Soc 170:245–296.


Riehl T, Kaiser S (2012) Conquered from the deep sea? A new deep-sea isopod species from the Antarctic shelf shows pattern of recent colonization. PLoS ONE 7:e49354.


Vollständige Publikationsliste

Dr. Julia Silva Beneti
Red List Assessor
Carlos Alberto Martínez Muñoz
Research Assistant
Katarzyna Vončina
PhD Student SOSA / Malacology Section
Anchita Casaubon
PhD Student SOSA / Crustacea Section
Henry Knauber
Taxonomy Assistant / Crustacea Section


Meine Forschung beschäftigt sich mit benthischen Asselkrebsen (Crustacea: Isopoda) aus der Tiefsee des Nordwestpazifiks. Mich interessieren vor allem die Diversität dieser Isopoden, ihre evolutionären Ursprünge und heutigen Verbreitungsmuster. Ein besonderer Fokus liegt für mich darauf herauszufinden welchen Einfluss die Beschaffenheit der Tiefsee (Tiefe, geografische Distanz, Tiefseestrukturen wie Gebirgsrücken und Gräben) auf Biogeographie und Artbildung der Isopoden haben. Hierzu bediene ich mich der integrativen Taxonomie, bei der eine Vielzahl morphologischer, molekulargenetischer und biogeografischer Methoden zum Einsatz kommen. Dies alles untersuche ich im Rahmen des Promotionsprojekts „EDDGI“.


Neben meiner akademischen Forschung widme ich mich zudem der Wissenschaftskommunikation und gewähre über meinen Blog und die dazugehörige Instagram-Seite Einblicke in den Doktoranden-Alltag, meine eigene Arbeit sowie in die Tiefseeforschung.


Instagram: @abyss.arium

seit Februar 2022 –Promotions-Stipendiat der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes verortet in der Crustaceen-Sektion (Marine Zoologie), Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut / Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main

Doktorarbeit – „Effects of Depth, Distance and the Geomorphology on deep-sea isopod differentiation (EDDGI)”

2018–2020 – Masterstudium „Ökologie & Evolution“ an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main

Masterarbeit – „Impact of bathymetric barriers on speciation within Haploniscidae (Crustacea: Isopoda) in the deep sea of the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench region” im Senckenberg-Forschungsinstitut, Frankfurt am Main

2015–2018 – Bachelorstudium „Biowissenschaften“ an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main

Bachelorarbeit – „ Morphological analysis of a haploniscid species from the Northwest Pacific Ocean” im Senckenberg-Forschungsinstitut, Frankfurt am Main

2014 – Abitur am Rheingauschule Gymnasium, Geisenheim (Rheingau)

Bianca Trautwein
Technical Assistant
Technical Assistant
Jana Häbel
Student Helper
Webdesign and Social Media Assistance
Anissa Halbich
Student Helper / Crustacea Section


Our volunteer staff form the backbone of SOSA. It is only through their dedicated, voluntary commitment that we are able to tackle the significant challenges ahead of us. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the discovery and description of marine species, who is passionate about species conservation, and who understands that the health of the oceans concerns us all is welcome to apply for volunteer work. Volunteers assist us in areas such as sample sorting, Red List assessments, as well as in the creation of graphic designs and contributions on social media platforms.

If you want to support our mission and become a volunteer, please click here to learn more.

Ellen Svensson-Stenbrock Red List Unit Support
Morwarid Barekzey Red List Unit Support
Tim Niederhüfner Red List Unit Support, geographical information and data research 
Sindhura Stothra Bhashyam Red List Unit Support
Jan Leitinger Engagement Unit Support, Social Media Outreach

Advisory Board Members

The SOSA Advisory Board ensures the success of this project by offering guidance, fostering ongoing dialogue, exchanging feedback, and collaboratively developing ideas. Comprised of distinguished experts on an international scale, this body represents the three primary domains of SOSA’s mission: Species Discovery and Biodiversity Research, Species Conservation and Nature Stewardship, as well as Outreach and Science Communication.

Prof. Dr. Miguel Vences Division of Evolutionary Biology Zoological Institute Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany)
Rebecca Goldburg Ph.D. Director of Environmental Research and Science, The Pew Charitable Trusts Washington, D.C. (USA)
Dr. Greg Edgecombe Merit Researcher, The Natural History Museum, London (UK)
Hosea Jan „Ze” Frank Online Performance Artist, Los Angeles (USA)
Swati Thiyagarajan Environmental Journalist and Filmmaker Cape Town (South Africa)

Marine Council Members 

The Marine Council serves as SOSA’s internal advisory committee within the Senckenberg Society, consisting of esteemed and experienced marine researchers within the organization. Like the Advisory Board, the Marine Council plays a crucial role in driving SOSA’s success, with a particular focus on harnessing the potential synergies among the different Senckenberg Institutes and their personnel.


Prof. Dr. Angelika Brandt   Head of Marine Zoology Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
Prof. Dr. Andre Freiwald   Direktor Senckenberg am Meer Wilhelmshaven (Germany)
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kröncke   Head of Marine Biology Senckenberg am Meer, Wilhelmshaven (Germany)
Dr. Carola Greve   Head of Laboratory Senckenberg Research Institute · Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (LOEWE-TBG) Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
Prof. Dr. Pedro Martinez Arbizu Head of DZMB Senckenberg am Meer, Wilhelmshaven (Germany)

SOSA Ambassadors

Researchers and conservationists who are aligned with the mission of SOSA and collaborate closely with our team are appointed as SOSA Ambassadors. This diverse and globally dispersed group of experts help expand and reinforce SOSA’s international network across various fields of expertise. In addition to the formal advisory bodies, Ambassadors are sought out for consultation in their respective areas of specialization and contribute through a multitude of contributions, ranging from small-scale to large-scale projects.

Dr. Chong Chen   Senior Scientist with Tenure   Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Yokosuka Headquarters, Kanagawa (Japan)
Dr. Ekin Tilic  Section Head Marine Evertebrates II Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
Dr. Monika Böhm   IUCN SSC Global Center for Species Survival, Indianapolis Zoological Society, Indiana (USA)
Riley Pollom   MSc., Species Recovery Program Manager, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle, Washington, USA