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Bastian Reijnen

B.T. (Bastian) Reijnen, PhD - Marine Biodiversity


Email: bastian.reijnen@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31(0)71
Room number: Vondellaan


In 2016 I obtained my PhD at Naturalis Biodiversity Center/Leiden University. Prior to my PhD I worked at the science departements of Naturalis and NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research) as a research assistant and project officer, respectively. I have joined several scientific diving expeditions and performed research in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific (Curacao, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of the Maldives and Saudi-Arabia). Currently I am a research asssociate at the Marine Biodiversity group.


Research interest

The amazing mimesis of Ovulidae keeps you wondering how it is possible that species look so alike their host corals. Both morphological structures as well as colour are perfectly matched. In the specific case of the ovulid Hiatavolva coarctata, the snails mimick the polyps of their octocoral on its mantle covering the shell. Even more amazing is the fact that they can rectract these polyps like their hosts do, but the mimicked polyps do not have the same function as in the hosts. The ovulid in this example shows an extreme case of camouflage or mimicry. How did such intricate relationships between hosts and their symbiotic (parastic) snails evolve? Does the mimesis have an evolutionary background, which would indicate very species specific interactions, or can alimentary homochromy be the crucial factor? These are the kind of questions that interest me. To have a look for at an overview of the Ovulidae species and there exceptional mimesis, please click here.


mimicry, octocorallia, crypsis, coral triangle, ovulidae, toxicity, host associations, parasite-host interactions, symbiosis

Current research topics

The Indo-Pacific coral reefs are considered to be one of the most species-rich ecosystems. Competition for food and space have influenced the evolution of defense mechanisms between species groups. As a PhD candidate at Naturalis Biodiversity Center I study the evolution of parasite-host interactions. To study such a broad topic we have selected Ovulidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) and Octocorallia (Anthozoa: Cnidaria) as model organisms. With the help of molecular techniques and phylogenetic analyses we try to assess the diversity, plot defense strategies onto cladograms to identify co-evolutionary lineages and to construct models to clarify the evolutionary pathways of species interdependencies in the marine environment.


  • Universiti Malaya's Institute of Biological Sciences
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah's Borneo Marine Reserach Institute
  • WWF Netherlands 
  • WWF Malaysia 
  • Prof. C.S. McFadden (Harvey Mudd College, USA)
  • Prof. Y. Benayahu, (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
  • Dr. A. K. Matsumoto (University of Tokyo, Japan)



Not applicable.

Supervision MSc Students

2013 Co-supervisor - Lau, Y. W. - New octocoral species along the leeward coast of Curaçao

Supervision BSc Students

2012 Co-supervisor - Wildmann, P. - Pedicularia snails (Caenogastropoda: Pediculariidae) associated with hydrocorals (Hydrozoa: Stylasteridae): Morphology, life history and host associations, in an evolutionary context
Available student projects

Public outreach

Interview The search for Ovulidae during the SMEE Semporna Marine Ecological Expediton - The search for Ovulidae

Interview during the Tun Mustapha Park Expedition (2012)

BBC Nature News and a popular blog on deep sea research. 



Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Reijnen B.T., Meij S.E.T. van der 2017. Coat of many colours—DNA reveals polymorphism of mantle patterns and colouration in Caribbean Cyphoma Röding, 1798 (Gastropoda, Ovulidae). PeerJ 5: e3018.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Gittenberger E., Kokshoorn B., Bößneck U., Reijnen B., Groenenberg D.S.J. 2016. Granopupa in Iran, monophyly, and the fossil Granariinae (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Chondrinidae). ZooKeys 592: 27-37.
Go to website (DOI)

Authored books

Reijnen B.T. 2016. PhD thesis: Phylogenetic ecology of octocoral - gastropod associations. 192 p. Gildeprint, Enschede. ISBN 9789065190178.


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Reijnen B.T. 2015. Molecular data for Crenavolva species (Gastropoda, Ovulidae) reveals the synonymy of C. chiapponii. ZooKeys 501: 15-26.
Go to website (URI)

Chapters in books

Fransen C.H.J.M., Hove H.A. ten, Lau Y.W., Meij S.E.T. van der, Ofwegen L.P. van, Rauch C., Reijnen B.T., Tienderen K.M. van, Hoeksema B.W. 2015. New biodiversity research at Curaçao. Report 2013-2014 Naturalis Research and Education 94-95: Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden.

Hoeksema B.W., Fransen C.H.J.M., Meij S.E.T. van der, Reijnen B.T., Rauch C., Tienderen K.M. van, Lau Y.W., Becking L.E., Soest R.W.M. van 2015. Discoveries with the Curasub in the Dutch Caribbean deep. Report 2013-2014 Naturalis Research and Education 92-93: Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden.


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Reijnen B.T., McFadden C.S., Hermanlimianto Y.T., Ofwegen L.P. van 2014. A molecular and morphological exploration of the generic boundaries in the family Melithaeidae (Coelenterata: Octocorallia) and its taxonomic consequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 70: 383-401.
Go to website (DOI)

Meij S.E.T. van der, Reijnen B.T. 2014. The curious case of Neotroglocarcinus dawydoffi (Decapoda, Cryptochiridae): unforeseen biogeographic patterns resulting from isolation. Systematics and Biodiversity 12: 503-512.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Wielstra B., Crnobrnja-Isailovic J., Litvinchuk S.N., Reijnen B.T., Skidmore A.K., Sotiropoulos K., Toxopeus A.G., Tzankov N., Vukov T., Arntzen J.W. 2013. Tracing glacial refugia of Triturus newts based on mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and species distribution modeling. Frontiers in Zoology 10: 13.
Go to website (DOI)

Smit J., Reijnen B., Stokvis F. 2013. Half of the European fruit fly species barcoded (Diptera, Tephritidae); a feasibility test for molecular identification. ZooKeys 365: 279-305.
Go to website (DOI)

Fransen C.H.J.M., Reijnen B.T. 2013. Caught in speciation? A new host for Conchodytes meleagrinae Peters, 1852 (Decapoda, Caridea, Palaemonidae). Zootaxa 3721: 265-280.


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Philippart C.J.M., Amaral A., Asmus R., Bleijswijk J. van, Bremner J., Buchholz F., Cabanellas-Reboredo M., Catarino D., Cattrijsse A., Charles F., Comtet T., Cunha A., Deudero S., Duchene J.-C., Fraschetti S., Gentil F., Gittenberger A., Guizien K., Goncalves J.M., Guarnieri G., Hendriks I., Hussel B., Vieira R.P., Reijnen B.T., Sampaio I., Serrao E., Pinto I.S., Thiebaut E., Viard F., Zuur A.F. 2012. Spatial synchronies in the seasonal occurrence of larvae of oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and mussels (Mytilus edulis/galloprovincialis) in European coastal waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 108: 52-63.
Go to website (DOI)

Meij S.E.T. van der, Reijnen B.T. 2012. First observations of attempted nudibranch predation by sea anemones. Marine Biodiversity 42: 281-283.
Go to website (DOI)

Fransen C.H.J.M., Reijnen B.T. 2012. A second discovery of Lacertopontonia chadi Marin, 2011 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Palaemonidae), with remarks on its systematic position. Zootaxa 3437: 43-50.

Benzoni F., Arrigoni R., Stefani F., Reijnen B.T., Montano S., Hoeksema B.W. 2012. Phylogenetic position and taxonomy of Cycloseris explanulata and C. wellsi (Scleractinia: Fungiidae): lost mushroom corals find their way home. Contributions to Zoology 81: 125-146.


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Hoeksema B.W., Land J. van der, Meij S.E.T. van der, Ofwegen L.P. van, Reijnen B.T., Soest R.W.M. van, Voogd N.J. de 2011. Unforeseen importance of historical collections as baselines to determine biotic change of coral reefs: the Saba Bank case. Marine Ecology - An Evolutionary Perspective 32: 135-141.
Go to website (DOI)

Gittenberger A., Reijnen B.T., Hoeksema B.W. 2011. A molecularly based phylogeny reconstruction of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) with taxonomic consequences and evolutionary implications for life history traits. Contributions to Zoology 80: 107-132.

Reijnen B.T., Meij S.E.T. van der, Ofwegen L.P. van 2011. Fish, fans and hydroids: host species of pygmy seahorses. ZooKeys 103: 1-26.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Reijnen B.T., Hoeksema B.W., Gittenberger E. 2010. Host specificity and phylogenetic relationships among Atlantic Ovulidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Contributions to Zoology 79: 69-78.

Overview Genera

All photographs are taken by the author unless stated otherwise. 


Genus: Calpurnus Montfort, 1810


Genus: Crenavolva Cate, 1973a


Genus: Cymbovula (Sowerby 2nd, 1848)


Genus: Dentiovula Habe, 1961


Genus: Habuprionovolva Azuma, 1970


Genus: Hiata Cate, 1973


Genus: Ovula Brugière, 1789


Genus: Phenacovolva Iredale, 1939


Genus: Primovula Thiele, 1925


Genus: Prionovolva Iredale, 1930


Genus: Prosimnia Schilder, 1927


Genus: Pseudosimnia Schilder, 1927

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