Mollusks are important to all of us for many reasons. Not only do they leave behind beautiful shells for us to collect, which are also important to other creatures that will use those empty shells, but they offer much to the field of medicine and of course, are a significant food source for many.

We must constantly learn about and monitor particular mollusk species, specifically the filter feeders. These mollusks present to us information about the water and indicate the health of our marine environments. Filter feeders are susceptible to pollution, increased silt caused by dredging which causes suffocation, and bacteria, which can accumulate in their tissues causing sickness and perhaps even death when eaten by humans.

The medical field is also learning about specific species of mollusks, which may benefit biomedical research, including hematology, which is the study of blood. The deadly cone snails venom contains an amino acid that is essential for healthy blood in humans and may help scientists find a cure or treatment for hemophilia and other blood disorders.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has a website dedicated to the Endangered Species Program. Here you can find exactly what mollusks are threatened or endangered:

Information on this page from Of Molluscs and Men from the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.