Final month, our undertaking NorHydro (along with ForBio Analysis Faculty of Biosystematics and undertaking MEDUSA) organized a course on range, systematics and biology of Hydrozoa on the Marine Organic Station in Espegrend. Fifteen members from 9 totally different international locations got here all the best way to Bergen to study extra about these intriguing animals, share their concepts and tasks, and begin new collaborations. We requested one of many youngest members of the group –our extremely motivated pupil Ana González– to share with us her ideas in regards to the course and her experiences along with her MSc undertaking. That is what she needed to say:
Once I began my Grasp’s Diploma of Marine Ecology on the College of the Balearic IslandsI already knew in regards to the existence of hydrozoans, however I had no thought how attention-grabbing these animals really have been. After some discussions, quite a lot of studying, and a good quantity of taking a look at photos of hydroids and hydromedusae, I made a decision to work with these inconspicuous invertebrates for my MSc undertaking beneath the supervision of Dr Luis Martell (College Museum of Bergen) and Dr. Maria Capa (College of the Balearic Islands). My undertaking goals to guage whether or not we are able to use the benthic communities of hydrozoans as bioindicators of anthropogenic influence on the easternmost coasts of Mallorca Island, within the Mediterranean Sea.
Coastal areas are a lovely place to dwell, and these habitats present ecosystem companies that contribute significantly to the economic system of the world, however a foul administration of them can generate vital damages and drastic adjustments within the ecosystem. One option to monitor environmental impacts in these habitats is by observing the response of their organic communities, so for this undertaking I made a decision to check the assemblages of benthic hydrozoans in two reverse websites with totally different ranges of anthropogenic influence: a harbor and a marine reserve. Furthermore, I’m evaluating the communities in numerous seasons of the yr, and I’ll analyze the assemblages rising on laborious substrates (like rocks) and in addition these rising on a vital Mediterranean gentle substrate: the endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica.
In the beginning, working with benthic hydrozoans was very difficult for me for the reason that specimens I discover are simply missed if one isn’t looking out rigorously for them. However the extra time I dedicate to look at these organisms, the extra curious I turned about their identification and dynamics, and the simpler it was to acknowledge them within the samples. Nevertheless, figuring out hydrozoans is a troublesome job and I spotted early that I wanted some assist, so I used to be very blissful when the chance arose to use for the course “Variety, Systematics and Biology of Hydrozoa” in Bergen. There, I had the prospect to satisfy a number of the main scientific specialists within the subject that helped me perceive higher the taxonomy and ecology of those animals. I couldn’t have imagined how a lot I used to be going to study in the course of the totally different actions of the course, however on the finish these organisms have been capable of catch my consideration and time flew between lectures, sampling journeys, and laboratory work. One side of the course that I notably loved is the truth that it introduced collectively members with totally different trajectories in science, and everyone was blissful to share their experiences on the earth of hydrozoan science.
We had the prospect to pattern on board the UiB analysis vessel Hans Brattström and we collected a number of planktonic and benthic hydrozoans within the fjords across the Marine Station. After every sampling occasion, we went again to the lab to type the samples, discover the hydrozoans and determine them to species. The plankton samples have been often the primary ones to be processed, since hydromedusae are fairly fragile they usually are likely to endure morphological damages after being sampled with a web. We tried to determine all specimens to species degree, with assistance from the stereomicroscopes and scientific literature with identification keys that the curse supplied. The benthic samples have been positioned in aquariums to maintain the organisms alive after which every of us had the chance to look at the specimens in our personal stereomicroscope.
All collectively, we have been capable of finding and determine greater than 40 species from all the primary teams of hydrozoans, together with siphonophores, trachylines, leptothecathes, and anthoathecates. Working with hydromedusae was new for me and I found that observing them was more difficult than figuring out the polyps, nevertheless it was additionally attention-grabbing in its personal means. The hydrozoans that caught my consideration essentially the most have been the polyps from the suborder Capitata, as a result of their morphology could be very totally different from the hydroids that I’ve noticed in my MSc undertaking up to now. Capitate hydroids don’t have a protecting theca, they possess tentacles that find yourself in a ball of nematocysts (so-called capitate tentacles), and they’re absent from virtually all my samples from Mallorca, that are as a substitute dominated by hydroids belonging to the Order Lepthothecata.
My curiosity for hydrozoans, the good set of specialists we had as academics, and the charismatic animals that we collected have been the right mixture for me to have an unimaginable expertise on this course. I feel that programs like these are a wonderful alternative for novices to study with specialists from totally different components of the world. Interacting with all of those superb individuals was very rewarding at each cultural and scientific ranges, and this complete expertise motivated me to maintain on finding out these attention-grabbing animals which are part of the complicated functioning of our oceans.