Category Archives: 2018 december calendar

Door #4: PSA: abstract submission for iBOL Conference is open!

For door #4 we are helping spread word about the 8th International Barcode of Life Conference, which will take place in Trondheim, Norway on June 17-20th next year.

Abstract submissions are open until January 15th 2019, so now is the time to start thinking (if you haven’t already).

The previous IBOL conference – the one in Kruger National Park, South Africa – was not just in an amazing location (which it undoubtedly was!), but covered a wide array of interesting topics and wonderful talks, and IBOL2019 is set to follow suit!

Check out the planned session themes and outstanding plenary speakers here.

The Norwegian participants at IBOL2017 – enthusiastic about launching Trondheim as the host for IBOL2019! Photo: Knut A. Hjelt

The University Museum in Bergen is one of the four University Museums that are coordinating the Norwegian Barcode of Life (NorBOL) project, and we will be presenting some of our findings on marine invertebrates at the conference  – hope to see you there!

You can find all the relevant information on the conference web page:

Door #3: Mollusc hunting around the world

The study of molluscs (malacology) has a long tradition in Norway. Despite the nearly 50,000 species dwelling in the world oceans and seas, a number only barely supersede by the arthropods, new species continue to be discovered and our understanding of the relationships and systematics of molluscs to change.

At the Natural History Museum of Bergen, the study of molluscs is focal, and research is carried out on various aspects of their diversity, morphology, ecology, systematics, evolution, and biogeography, using state of the art methods like DNA barcoding, molecular phylogenetics, and electron microscopy. Understanding the patterns and processes that drive present diversity in the oceans is one of our main goals and our research foci are framed within several “big questions”: How many and how can we differentiate between species? How do species originate in the oceans? Why some regions in the oceans are more diverse than others? Are mechanisms responsible for the patterns of diversity in the deep-sea the same as in shallow ecosystems?

Our quest for answers necessitate the continuous collection of new specimens and the exploration of remote geographies. We conduct regular fieldwork around the world including Norway, through numerous projects and partnerships.

Here are some snapshots from recent fieldwork from Manuel & team:

Working during October 2017 together with Professor João Macuio from the University Lurio (Pemba, Mozambique) in Nangata Bay (Nuarro, Mozambique) on a survey of the sea slug diversity inhabiting this pristine coral reef area and on an assessment of the structure and conservation status of the population of the threatened giant clam species (Tridacna maxima). Left image: Manuel Malaquias and João Macuio photographing sea slugs at the Nuarro Research Center.

João Macuio measuring underwater the total length of a specimen of the giant clam Tridacna maxima

Working in remote places requires often some capacity to improvise and during a fieldtrip to Taiwan while in the Penghu islands we had to convince the manager of our hostel to let us set up a field-lab in the garage among his gear and pet-cage!

Manuel and Trond Oskars, PhD candidate at the Museum, searching for molluscs during May 2017 at mangrove systems near the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan

In the Penghu islands we had the opportunity to work in the field together with students from the National Penghu University of Science and Technology, here depicted in the right image helping collecting sea slugs along a water stream lined by few mangrove bushes.

After a three weeks fieldtrip to Vamizi island in the Quirimbas archipelago, north of Mozambique during May 2015, we were finally brought to shore at Palma village near the border with Tanzania where we had to do some final sorting and organization of samples under the curious eyes of the local villagers (Manuel Malaquias and Yara Tibiriça from the Zavora Marine Lab in Mozambique).

Fieldwork during May 2018 in the Oslo fjord as part of the project “Sea slugs of southern Norway” funded by Artsdatabanken. Left image: part of the team working through the catch of the day at the Tolboden Course Center in Drøbak, University of Oslo (left to right: Cessa Rauch, Manuel Malaquias, Torkild Bakken, Anders Schouw)

You can read more about some of these expeditions by exploring the posts found here (workshops) and here (fieldwork).


Door #2: A glimpse of Hydrozoan anatomy

Hydroids and hydromedusae are abundant and widespread, but they can be difficult to identify, in part due to the overwhelming amount of terminology used to describe their polyps, colonies and medusae. The diversity of shapes and life cycle strategies in Hydrozoa is in fact so high that it is almost impossible to find a single set of descriptive terms for all species, and different glossaries have been developed for closely related families, sometimes genera, and also for the different stages in the life cycle of the same organism. To further complicate things, the terminology we use for the characterization of hydrozoan morphology has been adapted in many cases from other fields of science (like botany and geometry), and some of the words ended up with very different meanings depending of the organism we are looking at.

But if you are interested in these fascinating creatures, fear not! We at the invertebrate collections have thought about giving you a little visual aid in the form of four plates including some of the basic structures of hydroids and hydromedusa (courtesy of artsprosjekt HYPNO and upcoming artsprosjekt NORHYDRO).

Figure 1: Thecate polyps, like the ones of Aglaophenia harpago, are protected by rigid structures called “thecae” into which the polyp can retract. In many species they live all together forming colonies. Credit: Joan J. Soto Àngel and L. Martell.

Figure 2: Unlike their “protected” relatives, athecate polyps (e.g. those of Pennaria disticha) lack the skeletal protection of the theca, but can also form large colonies with many polyps. Credit: Joan J. Soto Àngel and L. Martell.

Figure 3: The hydromedusae produced by thecate polyps are called leptomedusae, and can be recognized by the development of gonads in the radial canals (among other characteristics). From left to right and top to bottom in the picture are three species present in Norwegian waters: Tiaropsis multicirrata, Modeeria rotunda, and Tima bairdii. Credit: L. Martell and A. Hosia, HYPNO project.

Figure 4: Anthomedusae (hydromedusae produced by athecate polyps) usually have the gonads developed in the manubrium. From left to right and top to bottom in the picture are Leuckartiara octona, Rathkea octopunctata, and Sarsia tubulosa. Credit: L. Martell and A. Hosia, HYPNO project.

Hopefully these images can be used as a starting point for the uninitiated, and why not? perhaps also as a source of inspiration for cool marine-related presents for the season!

-Luis Martell and Joan J. Soto Àngel

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!