Greetings from Delaware!

We look forward to seeing you at the 83rd meeting of the American Malacological Society, organized by the Delaware Museum of Natural History (DMNH). The meeting will be held at the Clayton Hall Conference Center on the Laird Campus of the University of Delaware in Newark, DE with the concluding banquet at DMNH.

The scientific program will kick off with the workshop Digitizing the 2nd largest Invertebrate Phylum: Mollusks. The goal of the workshop is to assess the degree to which Mollusk collections across the country are digitized and available to the research community and to develop Mollusk-specific best practices and efficient workflows to move forward rapidly. The workshop is organized by Petra Sierwald, Rüdiger Bieler, Gary Rosenberg and Liz Shea, and is sponsored by an iDigBio Conference Award. We’re planning for a mix of invited participants and applicants from the AMS collections and data use community. Check the workshop tab for more information.

The President’s Symposium, Mollusk research in a digital world: creating, integrating and mining large datasets expands on the workshop to discuss and provide examples of how large, interconnected data sets are changing how research is done across disciplines. The full list of symposium speakers will be available soon, and we look forward to a great set of general sessions.

Delaware’s location on the I-95 corridor and along the main AMTRAK route means it is easy to get to, and a great jumping off point for all types of travel. In addition to the extensive DMNH collection, the research collections of the Smithsonian, Academy of Natural Sciences, American Museum of Natural History, Yale Peabody Museum, and Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology are all a quick AMTRAK trip away. Travel grants sponsored by the Museum’s Society of the Natural History of Delaware Fund are available on a competitive basis for graduate students who wish to conduct research in the mollusk collection at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. See the collections tab for more information.

For full-on vacation activities, there are tax-free shopping malls and outlets throughout the state, great beaches, and many cultural institutions to enjoy and explore. Check out the Delaware State Parks system for lots of outdoor recreation options.

We hope you’ll come early, enjoy the meeting, and stick around afterward to take advantage of all there is to do in the mid-Atlantic!

Best wishes for a productive and fun meeting,

Liz Shea, AMS President 2017 & Curator of Mollusks
Halsey Spruance, Executive Director
Jean Woods, Director of Collections
Alex Kittle, Collections Manager of Mollusks

claytonhallThe meeting sessions and auction will be held in the recently renovated Clayton Hall Conference Center at the Laird Campus of the University of Delaware in Newark, DE.

Auditorium and classroom style rooms are within a few steps of each other, so moving between sessions will be quick and easy.  The flexible lobby “pit” will serve as our coffee break and informal discussion area each day, and will be setup for the evening poster session and auction.  Small meeting rooms have been set aside for Council and other committee business.

Schedule at a glance

ams chart

Pre-Meeting Workshop: Digitizing the 2nd largest Invertebrate Phylum: Mollusks

This workshop will facilitate our understanding of the current status of US mollusk collections digitization progress and will develop advancement strategies for rapidly promoting digitization and mobilization of North American molluscan specimen data. Introductory training in georeferencing methods using  GeoLocate will be provided and will cover key issues in terrestrial, aquatic, and marine locality data, with special relevance to the phylum. Encouraging the research use of digitized mollusk data by researchers and other potential stakeholders will be one of the topics addressed.


President’s Symposium:  Mollusk research in a digital world: creating, integrating and mining large datasets

The President’s Symposium will follow from the workshop and will highlight examples of how research is changing in response to the ongoing development of large and interconnected datasets.

Sessions in Development

Mollusks in Peril – Mollusks are the most diverse group of animals in the world’s oceans, and the second most diverse on Earth. However, despite the fundamental relevance of mollusks to Earth’s ecosystems, they have not received the consideration they warrant from global conservation efforts. Mollusks are threatened by widespread disturbances such as climate change, ocean acidification, range contraction, development, and others. “Mollusks in Peril” will include presentations about threats and alterations to molluscan populations caused by human-induced changes. The session is a follow-up to the successful forum of same name held last year at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island, organized by Jose Leal.

Cephalopod Biodiversity – Although cephalopods are popular, charismatic animals, species diversity is poorly known because they are difficult to sample effectively.  This session will explore our current understanding of cephalopod biodiversity, with an emphasis on species found in the NW Atlantic and NE Pacific oceans.  The session is organized by Heather Judkins, University of South Florida St. Petersburg and Cephalopod International Advisory Council conference organizer.

The iDigBio sponsored Digitizing Mollusks Workshop will be held immediately preceding the AMS meeting, starting with a gathering event on Saturday, July 15 in the evening and wrapping up on Monday, July 17 at noon.

The workshop will focus on developing strategies to streamline digitization, mobilization, integration and research use of Mollusk data in non-federal US collections.  Major collections that are currently digitizing their collection will lead discussions, but smaller collections and data users are encouraged to participate and provide perspective.  Training in georeferencing will be provided, however this workshop is not an introduction to digitizing.  Participants should come prepared with thoughtful questions and innovative solutions to intractable problems.

Welcoming Reception: The welcoming reception will be Monday, July 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Stone Balloon Ale House in downtown Newark.  This new restaurant was rebuilt on the site of a locally legendary music hall and college bar and is within walking distance from Clayton Hall (< 1.0 mile).

Auction: The AMS Auction will be held on Tuesday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. in Clayton Hall. We are in need of auction items! From the ridiculous to the sublime…books, papers, knickknacks; anything related to mollusks will do! Please remember, this auction supports student research.Please mail items to the Delaware Museum of Natural History, Attn: Alex Kittle, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807. If you are planning on bringing items with you, please let us know in advance what you will be bringing.

Banquet: The concluding banquet will be held at the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, DE.  The Museum is located in the Brandywine Valley approximately 30 minutes away from the University, and is part of a stretch of cultural institutions that include the Hagley Museum and Winterthur. Round trip transportation will be provided, but there is plenty of parking on site for those who may wish to drive separately.

Excursions: Three post-meeting excursions are being planned.  Please sign up when you register for the meeting.

  1. Cathy Young of the Mid-Atlantic Fossil and Nature Adventures will be our guide for a full day trip (est. 12 hours) to Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. Buses will take us from Newark to Chesapeake Beach, Maryland where we will meet Cathy, her staff, and multiple small boats at the Breezy Point Marina.  Participants will move by boat along the shoreline, wading into shore to find the best hunting grounds. We will collect in Miocene Age, Calvert (17 million years old), and Choptank (12 million years old) Formations for fossil shells, shark teeth and whale bones. This event is capped at 20 people, so book early! Families – this is a long day on rough terrain. We recommend it for children ages 8 and up with attentive parents.
  2. Half-day canoe trip down the Brandywine River: Bring your bathing suit and cool off as you canoe down the Brandywine River.  Cost covers bus transportation, a 2 person canoe, and lunch.  Buses will bring us from Newark to Northbrook Canoe Company in West Chester, PA, where we will get in a van and head up river to the drop off location.  An easy paddle downstream takes us back to Northbrook.  We will stop along the way for a picnic lunch.
  3. Half Day at Longwood Gardens – Buses will take us to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA where you can spend a half day enjoying the expansive and spectacular gardens, fountains and indoor conservatory. A special tour of the recently opened meadow garden has been arranged for AMS participants and will be led by a Longwood staff gardener. Lunch is on your own at the on-site cafeteria.
The venue is located at:
Clayton Hall Conference Center
100 David Hollowell Drive
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-2214

Arriving by Plane:  Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) are the two closest major airports serving Newark, DE.  From the airport, you may rent a car and drive to the venue where there is plenty of free parking, or use the Delaware Express bus service.

Arriving by Train: The closest train station with regular, hourly service is in Wilmington, DE.  If you arrive in Wilmington, you might see VP Joe Biden, but you will need to rent a car or use Delaware Express to get to Clayton Hall (approx. 20 min drive).  There is a train stop in Newark, DE (NRK) with service roughly 3x per day. The walk from the train station to Clayton Hall is 2 miles/30 minutes with heavy vehicle traffic.

Arriving by Car: Take Route I-95 (the major North-South interstate that runs up and down the East Coast) to Exit 1 in Delaware.  Follow Route 896 through campus (it twists and turns) until you see the Marriott and Clayton Hall Conference center on your right.

The application deadline has passed for 2017, please check back in 2018. 

The Collections & Research Division of the Delaware Museum of Natural History announces the availability of graduate student grants in support of research in the Museum’s collections. The award will be used toward travel and lodging expenses for a student to visit DMNH to study our world-class collections and library. Eligible students must be enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program and pursuing collections-based research leading to publication. Students do not need to be U.S. citizens and may be attending a school outside the U.S.A.

Applicants should submit a research proposal (not exceeding two pages) outlining the thesis project and specifically the work to be accomplished at DMNH, a brief CV, a budget, and one supporting letter from a faculty advisor. Requested amounts may be up to $1,000 for travel within the U.S.A., up to $1,500 for travel from outside the U.S.A., and cannot exceed the actual cost of travel.  Applicants wanting to conduct research requiring destructive sampling or dissection should review our Policy on Destructive Sampling and submit the requested information as part of their application. Applications may be submitted electronically or by standard mail. Application deadline is May 1 and awardees will be notified no later than May 15. Travel must occur before the end of the year, and may be coincident with the AMS 2017 meeting.

Students can apply for an additional $100 honorarium if they give a short (30 minute) presentation on their research to the general public while at the Museum or write a 200-word article for the Museum’s newsletter or blog.  Presentations/articles do not have to be on the research being done during the museum visit but may be on any collections-based or natural history research the applicant has done in the past.  A short description of the proposed presentation or article should be included with the grant application.

DMNH Collection Research Grants are made possible by the Museum’s Society of Natural History of Delaware Fund. The fund was created in 2015 to provide perpetual financial support of programs for the cultivation and study of the natural sciences at the Museum.

Freshwater bivalve holdings can be found at www. Requests for information about all other taxa can be sent to Mr. Alex Kittle, Collections Manager ( or 302-658-9111 ext. 311).

Registration is still open for the 2017 American Malacological Society Meeting in Newark, DE.  

Click here to be directed to the UD Conference Services website where you can register for the meeting and sign up for UD residence hall housing, cafeteria meals, the concluding banquet, and the after-meeting excursions.

Workshop participants – please be sure to register as “Workshop + Conference” so that more housing dates are available for you.

Housing at the University of Delaware: Newly-renovated, inexpensive, suite-style college residences are available to AMS participants.  These rooms are a quick walk across the quad to the meeting venue and cafeteria.  Each suite is comprised of two bedrooms with a shared “Jack and Jill” bathroom. Each room has two single beds, for a maximum of 4 people per suite.  For a slightly higher cost, you may reserve these rooms as singles.  There are a few true single rooms for those who require more privacy; however, their availability is not guaranteed, and they may not be on the same floor as the other AMS participants.  In all cases, there is a required, one-time per person bedding charge of $25 for your sheets and towels.

Housing at the Courtyard Marriott: If you prefer hotel accommodations, we have arranged for group rates at the adjacent Courtyard Marriott. Click here to reserve a room at the adjacent Marriott hotel.

Other alternatives are available in the area.  Please see the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (when searching, choose the Newark area) or the Downtown Newark Partnership for recommendations for more options.

Meals: The University’s Pencader Dining Hall will be the main resource for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the conference.  Depending on your arrival/departure dates and personal preferences, you will be asked to select which meals you will be attending at the time of registration.  Alternatives to the cafeteria include a Starbucks café and eatery at the adjacent Marriott or the many restaurants and bakeries in downtown Newark, within 1 mile of the conference venue.

The abstract deadline is May 31, 2017, coincident with the end of the registration period. Abstracts should be formatted according to the example found here (Example abstract) and sent to the program organizer at as a .docx document. Be sure to give your abstract a file name that includes the presenting authors’ last name and a brief description (e.g., Shea et al InvertEBase 200 yrs).

Websites: The American Malacological Society  or
Twitter: @AMS1931, @LizSheaDMNH, @delmnh. We’ll be using the hashtag #mollusks2017.

  • Registration ends: May 31


  • Deadline:  May 31