Annual Report of the “Neptunea” Group 2021

Overview of the activities in 2021

It no longer needs to be repeated, but it is true that the COVID pandemic has seriously intervened in society life. This year, the Neptunea working group was only able to meet three times. We could perhaps have taken more risks by deliberately coming together through ‘surrogate’ ‘Zoom’ contacts, but we didn’t think this new form of communication was appropriate within the intended objectives.

The study work has also suffered from the COVID regulation of the federal government, because serious publications can only be realised by bringing together and comparing material from a number of important collections. Only one issue of the magazine could be compiled. We have enough ideas and manuscripts, but we will have to wait for a corona-free society for the final texts.

All kinds of costs such as the website and the investment in audiovisual resources (TV, digital microscopes, laptops, new camera, lenses and software) weigh heavily and cannot be compensated through the income from the ‘bar’ and the reduced amount in membership fees. There is no longer a financial reserve and from now on BVC-Coast is sponsored by Frank Nolf.

Fortunately, there is also good news. Three new members have joined us and show an unprecedented enthusiasm, which they can hopefully transfer to the ‘anciens’ in the future. To reward those ‘starters’, we will from now on pay attention to the basics at every meeting and provide answers to the following questions: which books should I prefer to use? How do I clean shells without damaging them? How should I prepare and store chitons in my collection? How should I inventory my collection?

Since there is also a demand for excursions, we will try to encourage everyone to make trips along the Belgian coast (Bredene, De Panne, Bay of Heyst, …). As long as the pandemic problems continue to disrupt our plans, we will invite smaller groups. This has already been tried out with good results and it looks promising to apply this initiative next year.

Without the injection of ‘fresh blood’ and the necessary financial input, we saw no future for our working group, which was dying a quiet death. That is why we thank all members who continue to support us with their presence at the meetings, their offer of study material, the fruitful discussions and written articles.

Overview of the activities in 2021

– June 20:

* the presentation of Neptunea, 15(3): presence of Euspira lemaitrei in West Africa, the enigma of the Venus simulans/Venus verrucosaand new species in the family TEREBRIDAE;

* the results of an excursion to De Panne in August 2020: the search for land snails along the border path (PowerPoint presentation by Matthias and Delphine Clement, Dirk Nolf, and Frank Nolf);

* intermezzo: images of the storm ‘Odette’ on the Belgian coast (September 2020);

* improved versions of some PowerPoints: ‘Modiolus gallicus’, Euspira lemaitrei and Venus verrucosa/V. simulans (F. Nolf);

* the use of electronic microscopes for the identification of shells and the projection via a beamer or TV at the meetings (Yves Terryn & F. Nolf);

* a demonstration by Dirk Nolf of shooting in layers with focus shift: required equipment, suitable software + presentation of the results;

– Sept 19:

* The main point of the meeting was the introduction of three new members: in times of lockdowns and corona outbreaks, that’s quite an achievement!

The opportunity was taken to highlight the history, objectives and results achieved in the past 44 years (!). Each member had the opportunity to re-introduce himself/herself with his/her curriculum and collection;

* imagesfrom ‘La grotte aux coquillages’ (Kent, England, UK);

* the presence of the new exotic Mulinia lateralis along the Belgian coast: articles in ‘Zeepaardje’, ‘De Strandvlo’ + personal finds and projection of the specimens (F. Nolf);

* newly published books available for inspection (Steve Hubrecht and F. Nolf);

* the presentation of the new species Barnea pseudotruncata (Western Sahara) and the presence of Pholas dactylus in West and South Africa (S. Hubrecht, J. Verstraeten and F. Nolf)

– the 24th of October:

* an overview of the genus Architectonica (family: ARCHITECTONICIDAE) by Steve Hubrecht with specimens from his collection;

* digital images of a visit to the shell collection of the Verbeke Foundation (Kemzeke);

* introduction to some Acesta species (family LIMIDAE) from the Indo-Pacific and Antarctica and presentation of two new species (collections MNHN, F. Nolf and S. Hubrecht);

* from now on, every meeting will pay attention to the ‘training’ of ‘starters’: new members will get the opportunity to ask questions and will be introduced to the often difficult – but fascinating world – of shell collecting.

In the October meeting we learned how to create a database in different ways (card system, catalog with lists on paper, cards or electronically – DBMS such as Microsoft Access, 4th Dimension or File Maker Pro, worksheet in Numbers (Mac) or Excel (Mac/Windows-PC).

Jan Libbrecht as a new member took the lead by introducing his database on Access.

We refer to our website <> which provides an overview of all articles published in the magazine and where our annual report can also be consulted. The PowerPoint presentations are also available there.

We have to wait for the decisions of the federal government to know to what extent the meetings can have place in limited circumstances. We certainly do not want to take any risks to endanger the health of the members.

 Frank Nolf