Tag Archives: NorBOL

On the hunt for seaweeds!

The red, the green, and the brown

The red, the brown, and the green

This week the invertebrates are forced to take second place (!) as I have joined the master students participating on the course BIO309A – marine floristics out at our field station.

Lab work

Lab work

The course is the sister course to Marine faunistics that I joined in on last fall. The focus of this week is the macroalgae; the seaweeds that most people are (passingly) familiar with. (The micro algae have been covered in lectures and lab work back at BIO earlier.)

We are doing a mix of field work and lab work. Every day we go out and sample, and bring the catch back to the lab to identify it. 1-2 specimens of each species that is identified is destined to become barcode vouchers for NorBOL, and go through the by now fairly familiar route of photo-tissue sampling-preservation for inclusion in the museum collection as a voucher. Seaweeds fixate badly in ethanol, so instead we are pressing them and making herbarium specimens. So far we have about 50 vouchers (from almost as many different species), and the number is sure to climb as we continue working our way through the fresh stuff we just collected.

Collecting just outside the station

Collecting just outside the station

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Kjersti is explaining about the current habitat

Ah, such a hard day to be at sea!

Ah, such a hard day to be at sea!

Vivid!

Vivid!

Being ferried across to the island where we'll examine the tide pools

Being ferried across to the island where we’ll examine the tide pools

Nice location!

Nice location!

"that one!"

“that one!”

Kjersti is explaining the habitat

Hunting

Wave exposed!

Wave exposed!

I do "happen" to find some animals *on the lagae as well - here's a beautiful nudibranch, a Doto cf. maculata

I do “happen” to find some animals *on the algae as well – here’s a beautiful nudibranch, a Doto cf. maculata

Undercover amphipod

Undercover amphipod

Hydrozoans and two Aplysia punctata hanging out on a piece of Ascophyllum nodosum

Hydrozoans and two Aplysia punctata hanging out on a piece of Ascophyllum nodosum

Berthella sideralis, a rarity finally documented alive and barcoded!

The Pleurobranchidae sea slug species Berthella sideralis was described by the Swedish malacologist Sven Ludvig Lovén in 1846 based on specimens collect at Bohuslän, in southern Sweden not far from the city of Gothenburg. This species has hardly been mentioned in the literature after its original description, and no images of life species are to our best knowledge available in books, research papers or even web platforms – until now!

A synthesis of the morphological features of B. sideralis can be found in Cervera et al. (2010) who studied in detail two specimens collected during 1930’s in Trondheimfjord as part of a phylogenetic study of the genus Berthella.

Recently, in late November 2015 during a Museum scientific cruise – there is a blog post about this day of field work here – we collected one specimen in Hjeltefjorden (around Bergen) at 220 meters depth using an RP-sledge. This specimen is here documented and was recently genetically barcoded as part of our effort to barcode the Norwegian marine fauna through the NorBOL project.

A live specimen of Berthella sideralis. Ths scale bar i 5 mm. Photo: K. Kongshavn

A live specimen of Berthella sideralis. The scale bar i 5 mm. Photo: K. Kongshavn

Berthella sideralis is only known from Sweden and Norway. In Norway it has been reported between Bergen and Finnmark.

Reference: Cervera, J L., Gosliner, T. M., García-Gómez, J. C., & Ortea, J. A. 2010. A new species of Berthella Blainville, 1824 (Opisthobranchia, Notaspidea) from the Canary Island (Eastern Atlantic Ocean), with a re-examination of the phylogenetic relationships of the Notaspidea. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 66: 301–311.

-Manuel & Katrine

Thursday Amphipod — Norwegian Marine Amphipoda

Amphipoda is an order of mainly small crustaceans living in the ocean, in lakes and rivers, in caves and in moist soil. They can be found worldwide, and the last count in the marine speciesdatabase WoRMS gives about 9 800 valid species. Most of the amphipod species are marine, with again most species connected to the sea-floor (benthic) – even if one of the suborders entirely lives in the watercolumn (pelagic).

The Norwegian Species-name List includes 561 amphipods in Norway, and the most recent listing of amphipods in the North-East Atlantic includes 850 species (Vader, 2007). How many amphipod species that do live in Norwegian waters is probably somewhere between these two numbers.

A collection of Norwegian Amphipoda. Photo: Katrine Kongshavn

A collection of Norwegian Amphipoda. Photo: Katrine Kongshavn

The Norwegian Species Initiative funded project “Norwegian Marine Amphipoda” (NorAmph) starting these days at the Universitymuseum has as one of its objectives to produce a better overview of what species are present in Norwegian marine waters. Utilising material from large projects such as MAREANO and GeoBio, from field-cruises with UNIS and not least the wonderful wealth of the Natural History Collections of the Universitymuseum of Bergen we hope to be able to give an answer to the question.

When a new species of any animal is described, it is mostly done on the basis of its morphology (how it looks). Lately we also add information about a small and species-specific part of the DNA, but for most species this is informations we don´t have yet. The project Barcode of Life aims to map this small part of every species´ DNA  as a tool for later identification – like the barcodes that are used in shops. Norway is participating in this project through the national node NorBOL – and another of the objectives of the NorAmph project is to try to DNA-barcode as many of the norwegian marine amphipod-species as possible. You can read more about the NorBOL work at our invertebrate lab here at her museum here.

One very important part of the NorAmph project is to present the amphipods to all you not working on this fascinating group. Maybe you played with sandhoppers during a beach-holiday, or hunted for sideswimmers under the cobbles on a rocky shore? You might even have been flyfishing with a “Gammarus”-fly? Follow our “TangloppeTorsdag” (in Norwegian) or ThursdayAmphipod (in English) tag. Everything we post under this project will be collected under the category “NorAmph”.

Anne Helene

Literature:
Vader, W. 2007 A checklist of the Marine Amphipoda of the North-East Atlantic and Norwegian Arctic. Published on Tromsø Amphipod Webpage

Door #4: A cushioned star

This gorgeous sea star was first described by O.F. Müller in 1776. He gave it a species name fitting the characteristic appearance of the animal (Lat. Pulvillus= pillow, cushion). The common names in both English – Red Cushion Star- and Norwegian – Sypute – also reflect on this. Though most commonly red like the specimen pictured below, they can also be yellow-white. The white protrusions on the upper side the are gills. It lives at 10-300 meters depth, where it is often seen feeding on the coral Alcyonium digitatum. This particular specimen was collected during the course in marine faunistics this fall, in a locality just outside our field station close to Bergen.

Porania-001 ZMBN_106039_2Strangely enough, considering how common, conspicuous and wide-spread the species is, it has not been barcoded very frequently in BOLD – our specimen here will be the fifth in total to be submitted..!

Screen shot from a search in BOLD for the species

Screen shot from a search in BOLD for Porania pulvillus

-Katrine

Door #1: A day at sea

Welcome to our marine invertebrates December calendar! In Norway it is very common for children to have a Advent calendar of some sort to help shorten the wait towards Christmas.

We’ve decided to run with the idea here on the blog, giving you a tidbit about our work every day from December 1st to 24th.

We hope you’ll join us on our little venture – we can guarantee a varied selection of topics!

All the posts will be gathered under the Category 2015 December calendar

First out is a tale of sampling in the sleet…!

The scientific collections are the backbone of all the research performed at the University Museum – as it is at any museum. They hold treasures collected through the entire lifetime of a museum, and most times a collection was the reason for the establishment of a proper museum. The University Museum of Bergen is one of the oldest natural history collections in Norway, and we have grand collections.

But a collection needs to live – to be added to and to be used of – and this was the reason that bright and early Monday morning Katrine and Anne Helene were ready to go to sea. Our goal was to make a jumpstart at Anne Helenes new project about Amphipods (more about that in a later blog), and to take a grab (or two) of sandy seafloor to look for bristle worms (Polychaeta).

It is always a risk planning on a cruise in the very end of November, but this time the weather was on our side. Our plan – “go out and grab animals, sandy bottom is nice” – was cooked up in the spur of the moment  when we got an offer for boat time late Friday afternoon (someone else had to change their plans in the last minute), and maybe that was why everything went so smoothly? Going out collecting benthic animals (those that live on the seafloor) is one of our favourite things, and so we didn’t need much prodding.

The grab and sledge performed beautifully, and now is the time for sorting and photographing live animals before adding them to the collection. Be sure to follow their story through later blogs – they will show up in the categories NorAmph and NorBOL, and maybe somewhere else as well?

 Katrine and Anne Helene

Make sure to check back tomorrow to see what is behind Door #2…!

The 14th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium

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  • 5 days
  •  ~200 talks
  • ~240 posters
  • 35 nationalities
  • 360 enthusiastic participants
  • Immeasurable cups of coffee & lots of pastries

 

 

The 14th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium was arranged in Aveiro, Portugal between 31st of August and 4th of September, and these happy people were amongst the participants.

The Norwegian University/museum entourage came from the Biological Institute (9),                  the University Museum (4), and the NTNU University Museum (1).

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The topics of the conference was divided into seven main themes:

  1. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
  2. Advances in taxonomy and phylogeny
  3. Autoecology
  4. Connectivity and biogeography
  5. Evolutionary history and fossil records
  6. Natural and anthropogenic disturbance
  7. Stewardship of our deep oceans (DOSI)

(more details about the themes can be found here)

Our contributions ranged from sponges to fish, and included both talks and posters.

In no particular order (UM people in bold):

Bilder Aveiro
Talks:

Eilertsen MH, Kongsrud JA, Rapp HT – Evolutionary history of Ampharetinae (Ampharetidae, Annelida) adapted to chemosynthetic ecosystems

Hestetun JT, Vacelet J, Boury-Esnault N et al – Phylogenetic relationships of carnivorous sponges

Rees DJ, Byrkjedal I, Sutton TT – Pruning the pearlsides: reconciling morphology and molecules in mesopelagic fishes (Maurolicus: Sternoptychidae)

Bakken T, Oug E, Kongsrud JA, Alvestad T, Kongshavn, K – Polychaetous annelids in the deep Nordic Seas: strong bathymetric gradients, low deep-sea diversity and underdeveloped taxonomy

Xavier JR, Marco J, Rapp HT, Davies AJ – Predicting suitable habitat for the bird’s nest sponge Pheronema carpenteri (Porifera, Hexactinellida) in the Northeast Atlantic

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Posters:

Kongshavn K, Kongsrud JA, Tandberg AHS, Alvestad, T, Bakken, T, Oug, E, Willassen E – Intergrating DNA-barcoding and morphology to study marine invertebrates – Exploring biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea polychaetes in the Norwegian Sea

Hestetun JT, Xavier JR, Rapp HT – Carnivorous sponges from the Southwestern Indian Ocean Ridge seamounts

Alvizu A, Tendal OS, Rapp HT – Deep-water calcareous sponges (Calcarea: Porifera) from the Norwegian, Greenland and Iceland Seas (GIN) – from abyssal plains to mid-ocean ridges and hydrothermal vents

(Xavier JR), Pereira R, Gomes Pereira JN, Tempera F et al – Sponge assemblages of the Condor seamount (Azores) characterized from underwater imagery

Olsen BR, Troedsson C, Hadziavdic K et al – The influence of hydrothermal fluids on pelagic eukaryotic microorganism diversity and subsequent prey selection in a pelagic amphipod in the Nordic Seas

Bilder Aveiro1

In addition to these direct contributions, it was very gratifying to see our friends and colleagues presents results that were in part based on University Museum assistance, whether through participation on cruises with us, loans of material, visits to the Museum collections or data made available. Quite a few of our photos also found their way into presentations, which is always fun!

 

It was a busy week with a lot of information to absorb and a lot of old and new acquaintances and friends to talk to. We used this opportunity to spread the word about our current projects, and especially to discuss the challenges and potential of barcoding marine invertebrates.

We are very grateful to the organizing committee for taking on the herculean task of setting up such a wonderful symposium!

Obrigada/o!

Photo by @tangerina_ (Twitter)

Photo by @tangerina_ (Twitter)

Workshop aftermath

IMGP0475The lab is rather quiet today, compared with the frantic activity of last week – but there’s still plenty of work to do! We’ll catalog the identified material – several hundred entries – into our museum collections.

For NorBOL, a total of 250 polychaete specimens from 154 different species were selected for genetic barcoding, that’s pretty impressive! In addition, some of our participants selected material to loan with them, these will also in part become NorBOL-barcodes.

Samples, samples everywhere

Samples, samples everywhere

 

 

 

 

 

IMGP0468We’ll process these as quickly as we can, taking pictures, filling in the forms and taking tissue samples for analysis at the CCDB lab in Canada – fingers crossed for a high success rate on the sequencing!

Preparing drawings using a camera lucida on the stereo microscope

Preparing drawings using a camera lucida on the stereo microscope

 

As mentioned previously we focused on the MAREANO-material, but supplemented with other samples – including those that we have collected ourselves. That meant that beauties like this one (picture below) could be examined in detail by an expert, and get properly identified before we send it off to become part of the BOLD-database.

Previously Euchone sp, now we have it identified as Euchone analis

Previously Euchone sp, now we have it identified as Euchone analis

Thank you to all our participants for a very productive and fun week!

Workshop: Polychaete diversity in the Norwegian Sea

Our lab is currently brimming with polychaetologists (those working with the polychaeta, the bristle worms), as we’re in the middle of this year’s PolyNor workshop (Polychaete diversity in the Norwegian Sea).

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The making of plans

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Working hard

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The Polychaete pack gathered

The colourful family Phyllodocidae is one of the groups we are working on

The colourful family Phyllodocidae is one of the groups we are working on

We have eleven participants (five nationalities) here, and all are working hard to assign names to animals, fill up our lists of material to be cataloged into the University Museum’s collections, accumulation data for their own research projects, and selecting material suitable for barcoding through the NORBOL-project.

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Odontosyllis sp

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A Paranaitis wahlbergi

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A member of the family Sabellidae

 

The majority of the samples that we are working on have been collected through the MAREANO-programme, but we are supplementing with material collected around Bergen, closer to the coast and into the fjords, and material collected around Svalbard.

Publicity in Barcode Bulletin

Barcode Bulletin is a newsletter from International Barcode of Life (IBOL).  Barcode Bulletin Vol. 4, No. 2 – December 2013 has recently published two stories about activites we are involved in. One nice piece of news is that the  Norwegian Biodiversity Information Center and the Research Council of Norway has decided to fund the NorBol consortium. The other news are about our summer 2013 workshop in the MIWA-project which was co-funded via IPBES.

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