Earlier this summer, the small Japanese cities of Enoshima and Shimoda became the chosen scenario for the celebration of the 9th Workshop of the Hydrozoan Society, one of the most important meetings of hydrozoan scientists in the world.
This workshop is held every 3-4 years, and it offers everyone attending the opportunity to present his or her results, discuss new findings, collect some samples, and meet with other specialists in the group. Our Artsdatabanken project NorHydro is all about hydrozoans, so of course we could not miss this important event!
Selecting Enoshima and Shimoda as the venues for the workshop was a very fortunate decision. These cities are located in the area of the historically important Sagami Bay, where numerous studies of hydrozoans have taken place and from where many species of hydroids and hydromedusae have been described, which helped make this meeting a commemoration of previous hydrozoan studies in Japan.
Several renowned marine biologists, including Uchida, Yamada, and the late Emperor Hirohito dedicated their time and effort to study the hydrozoans of Sagami Bay, so during the workshop we felt like we were following their steps while collecting animals and comparing results.
The workshop included several different activities.
In Enoshima we visited the aquarium (just like Emperor Hirohito did many times) and we got to know the facilities where hydromedusae are kept and raised.
In Shimoda we went on and into the water to look for hydroids, hydromedusae and siphonophores that we then identified at the laboratories of the Shimoda Marine Research Center of Tsukuba University.
Also in Shimoda we sampled at the local aquarium, and it was in this city where the talks and poster sessions were held.
All in all, the participation of NorHydro in the workshop was very productive. We came back home with more than 30 samples that we will analyze and use to answer some questions that we are currently working on (did you know, for example, that the Japanese specimens of Nanomia bijuga may actually belong to a different species? We’ll see what our results suggest about this!).
We also received very positive feedback about the works we presented during the meeting, and we established some important collaborations with other hydrozoologists.
Some of the critters we observed during our time in Japan:
An even more exciting result of our participation was that the presidency of the Hydrozoan Society has now come to Norway, and NorHydro will be in charge of organizing the next Hydrozoan Society Workshop here in Bergen!
PS: Pictures of all the activities during the workshop can be found on the official facebook page of the Hydrozoan Society, and the entire event was tweeted with the hashtags #9HSworkshop, #HydrozoanSociety and #NorHydro.