The challenge of finding out hyperbenthic copepods (HYPCOP) is exclusive in a number of methods; we research a really unknown group of marine copepod species with little or no taxonomic information accessible right here, in Norway. It’s difficult as there are greater than 700 species described, and presumably extra. With pandemic lockdowns, it was laborious to have worldwide specialists come and assist us, so we needed to depend on sources accessible domestically. With so many institutes concerned from completely different corners of Norway, it was not at all times simple to satisfy up bodily to work on our assortment. Therefore, when it occurs, it’s a memorable occasion, and invaluable progress for the challenge is made.
Now we have Tone Falkenhaug because the challenge chief, located on the Institute of Marine Analysis in Flødevigen (IMR), than we have now our collaborator from Norwegian Institute for Water Analysis (NIVA), Anders Hobæk and the three technicians on the division of pure historical past from the College of Bergen. The yr earlier than all of us obtained collectively in Flødevigen, so for 2021 we determined that it could be Bergen to have one other workshop.
A yr into our challenge we managed to construct up a considerable assortment of benthic copepods; at present we have now round 460 registered specimens, and 195 off these are barcoded with two completely different DNA markers, mitochondrial (COI) and ribosomal (16S). What retains forward of us is the monster job of working via our specimens to label the DNA barcodes with morphological identifications. It means many hours of very exact work with the best needles, whereas sitting on the microscope.
Throughout our workshop in Bergen we obtained collectively to work via one of many copepod household bushes we generated from their DNA:
Anders Hobæk is a taxonomist with a few years of expertise dissecting copepods, and collectively we went via the samples one after the other. It is vitally satisfying to have the ability to establish a specimen and get the to the identical species stage because the DNA barcode. There are a number of causes as why we select to establish species primarily based on morphology.
Not all species are simple to barcode, as copepods, particularly the benthic ones, are sometimes so extraordinarily tiny; it’s tough to get good high quality DNA extracted from them.
The small portions of copepod DNA goes hand in hand with larger danger of contamination of different surrounding DNA, particularly in the event you work with extra normal markers. In addition to, even when we have now the DNA barcode, not all copepod DNA is recognized as such, which implies that even with the precise DNA, when operating it via the database, it tells us that we have now fly DNA, to present an instance. Final however not least, in a variety of instances, we weren’t in a position to get good DNA sequences from the copepod extracts, so the one possibility is figuring out them morphologically, by dissecting the animals and with assist of literature establish the precise genus, and even higher, the species.
Our subsequent workshop shall happen once more in Flødevigen, within the meantime we preserve you up to date about our planet of the copepods.
Observe us for extra copepod content material @planetcopepod, see you there!