Category Archives: publicity

A popular science talk about mitochondria at the Science Library

The Science Library of “Realfagbygget” organizes every semester a series of popular science talks, entitled “Kunnskapseplet”, offering an arena for students, PhDs, researchers and other staff to talk about their work or other any topic they want to discuss about.

My PhD project is focused on the systematic revision of the family Orbiniidae (Annelida) using mitochondrial genomes and nuclear RNA gene clusters along with morphological analyses. Once the results were generated and the consequent discussion started, I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss, in a talk at the Science Library, about one of the main topics of my PhD: the mitochondrial genome and its use in systematics. So, I contacted the library and we arranged a talk on the 28.09.2023 with the name “What can the mitochondria reveal about evolution?”.

Two images of Miguel Meca standing in front of the projection screen giving his talk.

I opened the talk with the concept of evolution in Pokémon!, and later I used the analogy of asking any kind of information to a person, the same way in systematics we are asking evolutionary information to the mitochondria. Photos: Nataliya Budaeva.

On the day of the talk, the library workers decorated the entrance of the library with books related with the topic of the talk, and even a showcase with images of mitochondria and the poster of the talk!. Students, PhDs and researchers from “Realfagbygget” and other faculties belonging to the University of Bergen assisted to my talk, as well as visitors coming from other institutions outside academia, which gave me the feeling of transmitting knowledge to a wide audience.

Alt Text Fig. 2: Three images. First one is showing Miguel Meca holding an apple close to a shelf full of books. The second image contains a showcase with photos of mitochondria inside. The third image exhibits the audience of the event.

Decorations at the entrance of the library and audience of the event. Photos: Kjersti Hasle and Nataliya Budaeva.

I highly recommend giving a talk at the Science Library if you want to communicate your work out of your job circle.

You can find information about “Kunnskapseplet” here:

-Miguel Meca

Door #22: recommended reading for the holidays

Today we’re offering you an early Christmas gift; the entire University Museum of Bergen 2018 yearbook is available online!

Provided that you read Norwegian, it offers an array of varied and entertaining tales of fieldwork in the context of the university Museum

You can find it here:

Årbok for Universitetsmuseet i Bergen 2018

The people of the Invertebrate Collections have written three of the papers in this year’s edition, with tales of fieldwork in Zanzibar, a journey in the footsteps of renowned taxonomist Michael Sars, and the story of the different methods we use to collect our animals in the field. We hope you will enjoy them!

Door #1: Last Christmas…

The cushioned sea star, Porania pulvillus, has been recruited to help advertise our little advent enterprise. Click for bigger image!

Last Christmas* we did in fact not make an Invertebrate Advent Calendar, as half the people of the collections were off in South Africa attending the IBOL (International Barcode of Life) conference. You can read more about what we were up to there in this blog post (which is liberally peppered with photos of local vertebrates): The 7th International Barcode of Life (IBOL) conference

However, the year before, and the year before that again, we did hold our own countdown for the 24 first days of December – just like most kids do here in Norway.

We will try to do the same this year, so make sure to check back often for posts on the weird and wonderful critters that live in the sea!

The 2015 edition can be found here, and cover the following topics:

Door #1: A day at sea
Door #2: The Leaf Sheep Sea Slug
Door #3: Prepare to be HYPNOtized
Door #4: A cushioned star
Door #5: A (so far) undescribed species of bristle worm
Door #6: Associated Amphipods
Door #7: Shrimp and salad
Door #8: One jar –> many, many vials
Door #9: Delving into the DNA
Door #10: Old Stoneface
Door #11: Just a white blob?
Door #12: Plankton sampling with a vertebrate view!
Door #13: Time for rejuvenation
Door #14: A world of colour and slime
Door #15: Guest researchers: Ivan
Door #16: First molecular-based phylogeny of onuphid bristle worms
Door #17: A marriage of art and science
Door #18: A photosynthetic animal
Door #19: The amphipods with the pointed hoods
Door #20: How many undescribed bristle worms live in Australian waters?
Door #21: A Norwegian oddity
Door #22: The Heart of the Museum
Door #23: Of MAREANO and the Museum
Door #24: Happy Holidays!

For 2016, this is what we came up with:

Door #1 Gammarus wilkitzkii – closer than Santa to the North Pole?
Door #2: The head of the Medusa
Door #3: a week in the field
Door #4: A spindly Sunday
Door #5: A visit from Mario
Door # 6: Stuffed Syllid
Door # 7: Always on my mind…?
Door #8: the ups and downs of a marine werewolf?
Door #9: Research stay of Juan Moles
Door #10: Siphonophores
Door #11 Invertebrately inspired art?
Door #12: All aboard the jelly cruise!
Door #13: Lucia – with a ray of enlightenment?
Door #14: Where the sun doesn’t shine. Lucifer, luciferin and luciferase
Door #15 Twinkle, twinkle, little animal?
Door #16: Chaetoderma nitidulum- a spiny, shiny mollusc
Door #17: New master student
Door # 18: MSc completed
Door #19: Going back to the roots
Door #20: Pretty Phyllodocidae
Door # 21: A tale of three fading buck-goats
Door #22 A jolly, happy family?
Door #23: How far away can a quill worm get?
Door #24: Happy Holidays!

We hope you will enjoy our little tidbits of invertebrate collections related information!


*you are so very welcome to the ear worm – maybe now I can get rid of it!

SeaSlug Fieldwork during the Haugesund Dive Camp

Haugesund 3rd till 10th of July 2018. 
by Cessa Rauch

The Sea slugs of Southern Norway project is going strong with already the second fieldwork trip checked off from our to-do list. Sea slugs of Southern Norway is a two-year project funded by Artsdatabanken aiming to map the diversity of sea slugs along the Southern part of the Norwegian coast. From around Bergen, Hordaland to the Swedish border, as this particular area of Norway has a huge gap of about 80 years without any dedicated work on sea slugs diversity being carried out. In May the project had its official kick off with a successful expedition to Drøbak, a little village near Oslo in the Oslofjord, where we were able to collect around 43 species, and met up with our dedicated collaborators from that area.

A selection of the species collected during the Drøbak expedition in May 2018. From left to right; top: Jorunna tomentosa, Doto dunnei, Facelina bostoniensis, middle: Doto coronata, Fjordia lineata, Limacia clavigera, bottom: Caronella pellucida, Microchlamylla gracilis, Rostanga rubra, photo credits: Anders Schouw

From the beginning we have made an effort to engage divers and underwater photographers passionate about sea slugs and establish a network of Citizen Scientists, and the response was extremely positive. Citizen scientists are volunteers that help out scientists by providing them with data as a hobby in their spare time. Their many years of experience result often in the accumulation of an immensely valuable knowledge about the taxonomy and ecology of these animals, which they eagerly share with us. We shall say, that the success of our project heavily rely on their input and willingness to help collecting samples, particularly because of the restrictions with scientific diving in Norway that we researchers face, that basically hamper any possibility to use this method for collecting slugs during our working time.

Dive camp Haugesund 2018

So far, we have citizen scientists helping us collecting sea slugs in the Oslofjord area, Egersund, Bergen, and Kristiansund. As you can see we miss a lot of coastline here still. Therefore, we decided to participate in the dive camp in Haugesund this year to see if we could get in touch with more enthusiastic hobby divers.

The dive camp was organized by the Slettaa Dykkerklubb Haugaland. Started in 2015, they are a relatively young club, but they grew very fast and have currently around 200 members. They are well known for the many activities they organize throughout the year that are often open to anyone who likes to participate.

Dive camp Haugesund pamphlet and picture

The timetable for the week (click to enlarge)

This year they decided to organize an actual dive camp that took a week and offered two dives a day, camping spot, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every day an interesting talk or tour related to diving. It was from 4th of July until the 10th and every day between the dives the participants had interesting meet-ups with marine biologists (like Vivian Husa), underwater photographers (Siv Pedersen and Vidar Skålevik from, and underwater artist Jason deCaires Taylor. We also visited the company Kystdesign, and we got a safety lecture form Tor Oppegård.

One of the remote-controlled submarines that were presented during the tour

A very busy and informative week! It was a great success for the participants and organizers and there will be a similar event again next year.

There and back again

Microscope in the living room

The day before the camp started, I met with citizen scientist Anders Schouw, and we drove that evening from Bergen to Haugesund to check into our rented Airbnb flat.

Although the Dive Camp had arranged a camping ground for visitors, we decided to stick with renting a flat, in order to have our equipment properly installed. Once arrived, we had to add some adjustments to the apartment. The dining area was converted to a sea slug studio with trays and camera equipment installed. The living room was now our little laboratory with a microscope and laptops.

The dining area converted into our mobile sea slug studio and picture

I can reassure you that we left everything clean and tidy!

The review of the owner, after I left our converted laboratory for an actual apartment

The next day we met very early in the morning at the seashore to be picked up by one of the organizers of the dive camp.

Pick up by speedboat in order to cross the water

The actual event took place on a tiny island just a short boat ride away from the city center of Haugesund. From there we took the boat Risøygutt from Thomas Bergh that we used in order to commute from the island to all the beautiful diving spots surrounding Haugesund. The first day we met up with Klaus and Are Risnes (father and son) as one of the participants of the camp that day.

During the week, and especially during the weekend, the number of participants increased and at a given time we had to go out with two boats in order to bring the more than 20 divers to the dive spots. Anders would be diving with Thomas while Karl Oddvar Floen and Torbjørn Brekke were leading the dive.

Originally built as a shrimp boat, Risøygutt has converted to a diving boat years ago, and the current owner Thomas Bergh, continued to use it for diving activities

My main purpose during the dive camp was providing everyone with collecting jars, that they took with them every dive, in search of sea slugs.

Klaus Risnes after a dive within his collecting jar with the sea hare Aplysia punctata, notice the purple colored water, ink from the sea hare they produce when they are disturbed

The cool box with sea slug samples on Risøygutt, accompanied with Anders’ photography gear

Because we needed the species alive for photography and species identification, I brought a cool-box with ice with me on the boat were the jars with sea slugs were kept, in order to keep them cool.

I was running around on the boat  providing collecting jars to the divers during the whole week, but as the number of participants during the week increased, the collecting jars were running out.

Halfway, Anders and I decided to visit the local supply store and purchased a bunch of extra collecting jars for all the enthusiastic participants willing to catch some sea slugs for us

Collecting jars full with different species of sea slugs

Different sea slug species in a collecting jar (accompanied with three flatworms)

Every day after the two dives, Anders and I returned to our “Airbnb-lab” and started working on the sea slugs, that meant sometimes short nights, and as you guessed it, the more species, the less sleep

Working on collected specimen far past bedtime

The species collected were luckily all photogenic and we were very happy with the results!

Anne Mari With Ottesen helping out with sea slug sorting

 Luckily we got many enthusiasts helping out and one evening Anne Mari With Ottesen joined us on the identification of the sea slugs.

Halfway in the dive camp week I gave a lecture about sea slugs in general and about the Sea slugs in Southern Norway project. It helped divers to spot sea slugs easier as they become better informed about what and where to look for.

This helped tremendously as we continued to get different species of sea slugs after every dive. At the end of the week, the count was on 22 species!

Catch of the week, as it is our most rare species so far in our Artsdatabanken database, Aegires punctilucens, photo credits Anders Schouw

Photogenic Edmundsella pedata, photo credits Anders Schouw

Besides the good weather, the delicious seafood and many new friendships made, with the number of new slug species added to our list and the many new citizen scientists volunteering for our project now, I could say that the dive camp was a success. We will continue to collaborate with Slettaa Dykkerklubb and hopefully in the future will host a sea slug course for its members and participate with the dive camp again next year, I can’t wait. Tusen takk!


We would like to thank Anders Schouw for all his effort in helping out during this week and I especially would like to thank him for his stamina during long days and short nights sorting the sea slugs!

We also would like to thank the organizers of the dive camp and Slettaa Dykkerklubb members; Åge Wee, Lars Einar Hollund, Thomas Bergh, Elisabeth Bergh, Torbjørn Brekke, Karl Oddvar Floen, Anne Mari With Ottesen and the numerous other enthusiastic participants that helped us out during the week! And a warm welcome to our new clan of citizen scientists!

Interested in our Sea slugs of Southern Norway project? Become a member of our Facebook group and get regular updates.


Further reading

Are you interested in the Slettaa Dykkerklub Haugaland? Visit their Facebook group or their website for more information.

Want to know more about underwater photography? Check the personal underwater photography blog on Facebook or visit this website for tips and tricks.

Always wanted to know more about Jason deCaires Taylors’ underwater art? Visit his website. Did you know that Jason has also underwater art installed in Oslo? Check this out;

Explore the world, read the invertebrate blogs!

Marie Curie project results

The results of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie project PRODEEP that has been done by Nataliya Budaeva and Endre Willassen at the Department of Natural History were published as a popular science article online:

Choose one of six languages to learn more about how marine bristle worms colonize the deep ocean!

Budaeva N., Schepetov D., Zanol J., Neretina T., Willassen E. 2016. When molecules support morphology: Phylogenetic reconstruction of the family Onuphidae (Eunicida, Annelida) based on 16S rDNA and 18S rDNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94(B): 791–801.

Biodiversity Valentines

This gorgeous polychaete (Bristle worm) is from the family Serpulidae, it was identfied as a Pomatoceros triquetes during the students' course in marine faunistics

This gorgeous polychaete (bristle worm) is from the family Serpulidae, it was identified as a Pomatoceros triquetes during the students’ course in marine faunistics (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

Release the Kraken!

Oh, dear… this challenge:

Please share your love of biodiversity this Valentine’s Day with the hashtag #bdvalentine.

Have fun and help raise awareness of biodiversity and conservation!

We’ll be on Twitter and Facebook celebrating all day on Friday, February 12th with “Biodiversity Valentines.” Tweet your best biodiversity-themed Valentine message with the hashtag #bdvalentine.  You can borrow from our growing Facebook gallery of #bdvalentine images here: .

Get your creative juices flowing (and your creative and communications folks brainstorming)!  We’ll retweet and create a gallery of your images all day on Friday, February 12th.

At JRS, we’re working to increase the use of biodiversity data and information services for conservation and sustainable development in Africa.  We love biodiversity data.  Join in with your #bdvalentine!

ticked into our in-box from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation a couple of days ago, and we decided to give it a spin.

Now, biologists seem to gravitate towards punny (and occasionally funny) humour, and there’s been an avalanche of submissions and suggestions on what we could post.

Here’s a selection of submissions from the Invertebrate collections, we hope you’ll enjoy them!

Interspecies <3 between Laonice sarsi and L. bahusiensis (photo:T. Alvestad)


This little Cephalopod was collected by MAREANO. (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

This little Cephalopod was collected by MAREANO. (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

This cuttlefish was encountered in an Aquarium, and thus does not reside in our collections! They belong to the class Cephalopoda, which also includes squid, octopodes, and nautiluses. Cuttlefish have a unique internal shell, the cuttlebone. Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish but molluscs. (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

This cuttlefish was encountered in an Aquarium, and thus does not reside in our collections! They belong to the class Cephalopoda, which also includes squid, octopodes, and nautiluses. Cuttlefish have a unique internal shell, the cuttlebone. Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish but molluscs. (Photo: K.Kongshavn)


Not a local species! Jelly fish do not have a independent circulatory system, nor do they have structured organ systems, brain, or breathing apparatus.


A friendly (?) Isopod from the Cirolanidae family.



Uncini bristles from a Euclymene (Maldanidae) polychaete

Uncini bristles from a Euclymene (Maldanidae) polychaete. The picture is taken with an Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) at our local SEM lab. The scale bar is 2 µm, or 0.002 mm, so these are truly TINY structures.


Here’s an Ebalia sp. that we have barcoded through NorBOL.

Here's a Urticina eques (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

Here’s a Urticina eques (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

A Crossaster papposus collected for NorBOL together with the local student dive club SUB (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

A Crossaster papposus collected for NorBOL together with the local student dive club SUB (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

A marine snail in the family Naticidae (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

A marine snail in the family Naticidae, also known as moon snails or necklace shells. These snails are predators, mainly feeding on Bivalves (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

We could not resist, even though it's a vertebrate (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

Look at that face! We could not resist including him(?), even though it’s a vertebrate (Photo: K.Kongshavn)

(Photo: K.Kongshavn)

apologies for the ear worm!

Well, we sure had fun – we hope you did too!

Make sure to check out other contributions to the hashtag #bdvalentine on Twitter and Facebook.

Greeting from the Faunistics course!

Todays cutest catch - he's a Rossia cephalopod

Today’s cutest catch – he’s a Rossia cephalopod


I’ve spent both last week and the current one at the UiB field station – Espegrend – together with an enthusiastic bunch of marine biology master students and their teachers.



I am mainly here to collect animals for NorBOL, but it’s hard to resist the temptation to join in on the course itself every now and again – whether in the field or in the lab!

Lots and lots of litterature

Lots and lots of litterature


The baseline for the course is that the students will get to look at all sorts of freshly collected animals from various habitats and learn to identify them.IMGP0626

Kelp tank

Kelp tank

Identified samples - at the end of each day, the students present the animals that they have studied that day to their classmates.

Identified samples – at the end of each day, the students present the animals that they have studied that day to their classmates.

Whilst doing so, they acquaint themselves with the different keys and terminology used to identify the critters, learn which species are associated with which habitats, and get practical experience of how to collect and treat samples of various kind (you would for example use a different kind of gear to collect on a muddy substrate than on a rocky slope).

So it is a busy couple of weeks, with lots to learn.

Work on deck

Work on deck



First day in the field, Henrik is demonstrating

First day in the field, Henrik is demonstrating

Incoming sample!

Incoming sample!

Tomorrow is the final day of collecting (it will be “parasite day”, which means a trawl to collect fish and various other animals likely to have parasites on (or in!) them.

Today we have focused on sponges, yesterday it was zooplankton, Monday was polychaetes – and so it goes!







Here are some of the animals that we have been working on:


The weather last week was…interesting, as was the absolute downpour a student and I went out in Monday morning – but today was simply a beautiful day for field work!

Stormy weather! Thankfully it passed after the first week.

Stormy weather! Thankfully it passed after the first week. The map is from the really cool page

Much, much nicer weather

Much, much nicer weather

As well as (re)presenting the Museum (yes, we do other things than the exhibitions, and ye-ees, we are interested in new students!), I gave a presentation of NorBOL and the work we are doing on marine animals last week (so far it is only animals, we will start with the marine macro algae the coming spring).  I have been collecting quite a few new species that are to be barcoded from what the students work on, as well as supplementing what we have. In addition I will bring back some nice (but so far unidentified) samples to the Museum that we will continue to work on.

And who knows – maybe I have recruited some future collaborators?

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.