MalakoCetina 2024

„MalakoCetina 2024“ is a research-educational student project based on exploring the malacofauna of the Cetina River. Given the success of last year’s project “MalakoCetina 2023”, we believe it is necessary to include an additional number of springs and tributaries in our research to obtain a complete list of all species of molluscs of the Cetina River. We have confirmed the presence of many rare species, some of which have been described for the first time in this area. Unfortunately, we have detected the presence of an invasive bivalve mollusc (Sinanodonta woodiana) and invasion of the snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (an invasive snail species originating from New Zealand). However, despite our efforts, we have not encountered an autochthonous representative of the Unionidae family.

The project involves studying the malacofauna of the Cetina River and its surrounding sources, as well as promoting the conservation of the river. To promote the conservation of the Cetina River, we will encourage citizens living in the immediate vicinity to maintain favourable ecological conditions through their behaviour and management of the Cetina. The whole project is divided into three phases: preparatory, executive, and reporting phase. The project officially began in January 2024 and ends in December 2024. The preparatory phase of the project involves holding educational lectures and workshops for all interested students of the Department of Biology of the Faculty of Science (PMF), University of Zagreb and members of the Biology Students Association – BIUS. Educational lectures will be held by mentors and the head of the Malacology section. In addition to this, literature on the area of interest and mollusc species found in the Cetina River will be studied. This phase also covers the field research planning and the examination of exhibits of molluscs preserved in the collections of the Croatian Natural History Museum collected in the studied area. The executing phase consists of conducting field research and holding an educational workshop for residents of the Cetina River area in September 2024. Eight students will participate in the fieldwork, including project leaders Lina Bajić and Kristijan Keretić, as well as three mentors: prof. dr. sc. Jasna Lajtner, Petar Crnčan, mag. biol. exp (malacologist in Croatian Natural History Museum Zagreb) and Stjepan Novosel, mag. oecol. During the field trip, it is planned to visit a minimum of 40 sites along the Cetina River to collect data on different mollusc species and determine the spread of the invasion of the snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Certain species of molluscs inhabit a very limited and specific area, which is the reason why our research needs to cover different habitats formed by the Cetina River (reservoirs, ponds, canals, wetlands, and surrounding springs). The final phase of the project consists of processing samples and data, publishing project results, and writing final financial and descriptive reports.

This project provides a comprehensive understanding of the mollusc species of the Cetina River and the assessment of their ecological status. Knowledge of the malacofauna of the Cetina River is important for determining and monitoring the ecological status of the river itself and its surrounding freshwater habitats. As slow-moving organisms, molluscs are particularly sensitive to changes in their habitat and are often used as bioindicators. Climate change and extreme droughts threaten the biodiversity of Cetina and surrounding tributaries. The development of unfavourable environmental conditions initially represents an existential risk to autochthonous mollusc species. Researching their diversity, abundance, and population status is extremely important considering climate change and extreme events such as last year’s drought. The natural state of the Cetina River has already been compromised by the construction of hydroelectric power plants, as well as the extraction of water for drinking and irrigation of agricultural land. It’s highly likely that these factors have had an impact on the condition of certain more sensitive species, so it is of utmost importance to determine the state of malacofauna communities in the Cetina River area as soon as possible.



  • Baraka, A., 2015. Raznolikost i struktura zajednice puževa (Mollusca, Gastropoda) izvorišnog dijela rijeke Cetine (Doctoral dissertation, University of Zagreb. Faculty of Science. Department of Biology).
  • Beran, L., 2020. First records of Sinanodonta woodiana (Lea, 1834) and Corbicula fluminea (OF Müller, 1774)(Mollusca, Bivalvia) from the Adriatic part of Croatia. Folia Malacologica, 28(4), pp.295-302.
  • Bonacci, Ognjen i Tanja Roje‐Bonacci, T., 2003. The influence of hydroelectrical development on the flow regime of the karstic river Cetina. Hydrological processes, 17(1), pp.1-15.
  • Dobrović, A., 2015. Raznolikost i struktura zajednice puževa (Mollusca, Gastropoda) srednjeg i donjeg toka rijeke Cetine (Doctoral dissertation, University of Zagreb. Faculty of Science. Department of Biology).
  • Francisco Welter-Schultes, 2012: European non-marine molluscs, a guide for species identification, Planet Poster Editions, Gottingen, Germany
  • Lajtner, J. and Crnčan, P., 2011. Distribution of the invasive bivalve Sinanodonta woodiana (Lea, 1834) in Croatia. Aquatic Invasions, 6(1), pp.119-124.
  • Pfleger, V., 1990. A field guide in colour to molluscs


Figure 1. Project logo