The extreme biological, ecological and economic importance of Mytilus mussels is globally recognized. Mussels are the emblematic species of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates. Most of the students in biology had to dissect a mussel once in their life. In marine ecology, mussels are the typical example of a keystone species, and the rock substrate intertidal ecology is often based on the study of mussel beds. In the last two decades it became the principal sentinel species of marine ecotoxicology. It is also a model in evolution due to the existence of highly divergent lineages that continue to hybridize and exchange adaptations. Furthermore, cases of invasions of the mediterranean mussel in California, China, Australia, Chile and South Africa made it a model in the field of marine invasion. Mussels possess rare and fascinating biological characteristics like the existence of two mitochondrial lineages, the first transmitted from mother to daughter like in other animals and the second transmitted from father to son; or the emergence of a transmissible cancer, i.e. malignant cells capable of spreading from an individual to another. Some proteins are studied for industrial applications like the adhesive plaque protein that allows to produce hydrophobic glues for sea-related activities or dental appliances; or other types of biomimetism from the shell (bioceramics) or byssus filaments (for flexible and resistant materials). Finally, mussels have an undeniable importance in the shellfish industry and gastronomy, notably in the French and Occitan culture.
The high number of published papers on the Mytilus mussels (around 7000 a year) says a lot on its importance in those different areas of biology. Only the trio human/mouse/drosophila surpasses it in terms of publications and it is equivalent for example to the Anopheles, vector of malaria. In comparison, the second shellfish, oysters, produce only 3000 papers annually. Marine mussels can therefore be considered like a sea drosophila and deserve an annual symposium during which researchers from diverse fields exchange on the new discoveries. The aim is that each discipline takes advantage of the updating knowledge of others. Such a symposium did not exist until 2016 and the first initiative was organized in Vigo. This first international symposium on advances in marine mussel research (AMMR 2016) was a success and it was decided to perpetuate the conference and to organise a second edition in France.
AMMR 2017 will gather 80 researchers from all other the world working on marine mussel genetics, ecology, immunology, ecotoxicology, biomimetism, cancerology, etc. It will allow four highly recognized researchers in their field to present their work and to listen to high quality contributions. We hope AMMR 2017 will definitely seal the Vigo initiative and hopefully initiate a long series of AMMR globally for many more years.