Tag Archives: PolyNor

The 14th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium

  • IMG_9001


  • 5 days
  •  ~200 talks
  • ~240 posters
  • 35 nationalities
  • 360 enthusiastic participants
  • Immeasurable cups of coffee & lots of pastries



The 14th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium was arranged in Aveiro, Portugal between 31st of August and 4th of September, and these happy people were amongst the participants.

The Norwegian University/museum entourage came from the Biological Institute (9),                  the University Museum (4), and the NTNU University Museum (1).


The topics of the conference was divided into seven main themes:

  1. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
  2. Advances in taxonomy and phylogeny
  3. Autoecology
  4. Connectivity and biogeography
  5. Evolutionary history and fossil records
  6. Natural and anthropogenic disturbance
  7. Stewardship of our deep oceans (DOSI)

(more details about the themes can be found here)

Our contributions ranged from sponges to fish, and included both talks and posters.

In no particular order (UM people in bold):

Bilder Aveiro

Eilertsen MH, Kongsrud JA, Rapp HT – Evolutionary history of Ampharetinae (Ampharetidae, Annelida) adapted to chemosynthetic ecosystems

Hestetun JT, Vacelet J, Boury-Esnault N et al – Phylogenetic relationships of carnivorous sponges

Rees DJ, Byrkjedal I, Sutton TT – Pruning the pearlsides: reconciling morphology and molecules in mesopelagic fishes (Maurolicus: Sternoptychidae)

Bakken T, Oug E, Kongsrud JA, Alvestad T, Kongshavn, K – Polychaetous annelids in the deep Nordic Seas: strong bathymetric gradients, low deep-sea diversity and underdeveloped taxonomy

Xavier JR, Marco J, Rapp HT, Davies AJ – Predicting suitable habitat for the bird’s nest sponge Pheronema carpenteri (Porifera, Hexactinellida) in the Northeast Atlantic



Kongshavn K, Kongsrud JA, Tandberg AHS, Alvestad, T, Bakken, T, Oug, E, Willassen E – Intergrating DNA-barcoding and morphology to study marine invertebrates – Exploring biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea polychaetes in the Norwegian Sea

Hestetun JT, Xavier JR, Rapp HT – Carnivorous sponges from the Southwestern Indian Ocean Ridge seamounts

Alvizu A, Tendal OS, Rapp HT – Deep-water calcareous sponges (Calcarea: Porifera) from the Norwegian, Greenland and Iceland Seas (GIN) – from abyssal plains to mid-ocean ridges and hydrothermal vents

(Xavier JR), Pereira R, Gomes Pereira JN, Tempera F et al – Sponge assemblages of the Condor seamount (Azores) characterized from underwater imagery

Olsen BR, Troedsson C, Hadziavdic K et al – The influence of hydrothermal fluids on pelagic eukaryotic microorganism diversity and subsequent prey selection in a pelagic amphipod in the Nordic Seas

Bilder Aveiro1

In addition to these direct contributions, it was very gratifying to see our friends and colleagues presents results that were in part based on University Museum assistance, whether through participation on cruises with us, loans of material, visits to the Museum collections or data made available. Quite a few of our photos also found their way into presentations, which is always fun!


It was a busy week with a lot of information to absorb and a lot of old and new acquaintances and friends to talk to. We used this opportunity to spread the word about our current projects, and especially to discuss the challenges and potential of barcoding marine invertebrates.

We are very grateful to the organizing committee for taking on the herculean task of setting up such a wonderful symposium!


Photo by @tangerina_ (Twitter)

Photo by @tangerina_ (Twitter)

Workshop aftermath

IMGP0475The lab is rather quiet today, compared with the frantic activity of last week – but there’s still plenty of work to do! We’ll catalog the identified material – several hundred entries – into our museum collections.

For NorBOL, a total of 250 polychaete specimens from 154 different species were selected for genetic barcoding, that’s pretty impressive! In addition, some of our participants selected material to loan with them, these will also in part become NorBOL-barcodes.

Samples, samples everywhere

Samples, samples everywhere






IMGP0468We’ll process these as quickly as we can, taking pictures, filling in the forms and taking tissue samples for analysis at the CCDB lab in Canada – fingers crossed for a high success rate on the sequencing!

Preparing drawings using a camera lucida on the stereo microscope

Preparing drawings using a camera lucida on the stereo microscope


As mentioned previously we focused on the MAREANO-material, but supplemented with other samples – including those that we have collected ourselves. That meant that beauties like this one (picture below) could be examined in detail by an expert, and get properly identified before we send it off to become part of the BOLD-database.

Previously Euchone sp, now we have it identified as Euchone analis

Previously Euchone sp, now we have it identified as Euchone analis

Thank you to all our participants for a very productive and fun week!

Workshop: Polychaete diversity in the Norwegian Sea

Our lab is currently brimming with polychaetologists (those working with the polychaeta, the bristle worms), as we’re in the middle of this year’s PolyNor workshop (Polychaete diversity in the Norwegian Sea).


The making of plans


Working hard


The Polychaete pack gathered

The colourful family Phyllodocidae is one of the groups we are working on

The colourful family Phyllodocidae is one of the groups we are working on

We have eleven participants (five nationalities) here, and all are working hard to assign names to animals, fill up our lists of material to be cataloged into the University Museum’s collections, accumulation data for their own research projects, and selecting material suitable for barcoding through the NORBOL-project.


Odontosyllis sp


A Paranaitis wahlbergi


A member of the family Sabellidae


The majority of the samples that we are working on have been collected through the MAREANO-programme, but we are supplementing with material collected around Bergen, closer to the coast and into the fjords, and material collected around Svalbard.

More from the PolyNor workshop

As usual, we use a variety of methods to work with our animals – these include use of stereo microscope, “ordinary” microscope, and electron scanning microscope (SEM). Below are some pictures of work in progress during today.

Work in the lab, SEM photos of complete animals and of tiny details, talks and stacks of material. (Pictures by A. Mackie and K.Kongshavn)

Work in the lab, SEM photos of complete animals and of tiny details, talks and stacks of material. (Pictures by A. Mackie and K.Kongshavn)

PolyNor Workshop on the MAREANO material


This week our lab is teeming with activity as twelve researchers goes to work on our polychaete material, focusing mainly on that which has been collected by the MAREANO program.

Worm work in progress! Photos by Andy Mackie (SEM photograph by K. Kongshavn)

Worm work in progress!
Photos by Andy Mackie (SEM photograph by K. Kongshavn)

As mentioned previously, the material collected by MAREANO gets split into size based fractions, which then receive different treatments. As far as the polychaetes go, MAREANO carries out routine identification on what is collected by grab (1 mm) and beam trawl (5 mm), all of which has been fixed in formalin (until this year, where it was begun fixing half of the beam trawl in ethanol). Thus we already have some idea of what to expect to find in the material.

At the Invertebrate Collections we have processed a lot of bulk samples from the fractions that MAREANO does not utilize, and lately we have especially focused on the Ethanol fixed material, as this can be used for genetic work.

This workshop is part of the Polychaete diversity in the Norwegian sea (PolyNor) project. This project aim to explore the diversity of polychaetes in the Nordic seas;

The Norwegian Sea holds a diverse fauna of polychaete worms, more diverse than previously anticipated. Recent work has discovered several new species and species described in the old literature but not seen since their description, has been rediscovered. Material from new samples will be targeted to discover the true diversity of polychaetes in the Norwegian Sea.

During the workshop we will work on some of the groups with especially tricky taxonomy, prioritizing   the identifying of specimens fixed in ethanol, and select individuals that are especially suited for genetic work. And of course we will also discuss current topics, find and reconnect with collaborators, drink  an unholy amount of coffee, and learn some new things!