Final month, our venture NorHydro (along with ForBio Analysis College of Biosystematics and venture MEDUSA) organized a course on variety, systematics and biology of Hydrozoa on the Marine Organic Station in Espegrend. Fifteen members from 9 completely different international locations got here all the best way to Bergen to be taught extra about these intriguing animals, share their concepts and tasks, and begin new collaborations. We requested one of many youngest members of the group –our extremely motivated pupil Ana González– to share with us her ideas concerning the course and her experiences along with her MSc venture. That is what she needed to say:
After I began my Grasp’s Diploma of Marine Ecology on the College of the Balearic IslandsI already knew concerning the existence of hydrozoans, however I had no thought how attention-grabbing these animals really have been. After some discussions, numerous studying, and a good quantity of footage of hydroids and hydromedusae, I made a decision to work with these inconspicuous invertebrates for my MSc venture below the supervision of Dr Luis Martell (College Museum of Bergen) and Dr. Maria Capa (College of the Balearic Islands). My venture goals to guage whether or not we will use the benthic communities of hydrozoans as bioindicators of anthropogenic impression on the easternmost coasts of Mallorca Island, within the Mediterranean Sea.
Coastal areas are a horny place to dwell, and these habitats present ecosystem providers that contribute vastly to the financial system of the world, however a foul administration of them can generate essential damages and drastic modifications within the ecosystem. One strategy to monitor environmental impacts in these habitats is by observing the response of their organic communities, so for this venture I made a decision to review the assemblages of benthic hydrozoans in two reverse websites with completely different ranges of anthropogenic impression: a harbor and a marine reserve. Furthermore, I’m evaluating the communities in numerous seasons of the 12 months, and I’ll analyze the assemblages rising on arduous substrates (like rocks) and likewise these rising on an important Mediterranean comfortable substrate: the endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica.
In the beginning, working with benthic hydrozoans was very difficult for me because the specimens I discover are simply missed if one shouldn’t be looking out fastidiously for them. However the extra time I dedicate to look at these organisms, the extra curious I grew to become about their identification and dynamics, and the simpler it was to acknowledge them within the samples. Nonetheless, figuring out hydrozoans is a tough process and I spotted early that I wanted some assist, so I used to be very pleased when the chance arose to use for the course “Range, Systematics and Biology of Hydrozoa” in Bergen. There, I had the prospect to fulfill among the main scientific consultants within the discipline that helped me perceive higher the taxonomy and ecology of those animals. I couldn’t have imagined how a lot I used to be going to be taught throughout the completely different actions of the course, however on the finish these organisms have been in a position to catch my consideration and time flew between lectures, sampling journeys, and laboratory work. One facet of the course that I significantly loved is the truth that it introduced collectively members with completely different trajectories in science, and all people was pleased to share their experiences on this planet of hydrozoan science.
We had the prospect to pattern on board the UiB analysis vessel Hans Brattström and we collected a number of planktonic and benthic hydrozoans within the fjords across the Marine Station. After every sampling occasion, we went again to the lab to kind the samples, discover the hydrozoans and establish them to species. The plankton samples have been often the primary ones to be processed, since hydromedusae are fairly fragile and so they are inclined to endure morphological damages after being sampled with a web. We tried to establish all specimens to species stage, with the help of the stereomicroscopes and scientific literature with identification keys that the curse offered. The benthic samples have been positioned in aquariums to maintain the organisms alive after which every of us had the chance to look at the specimens in our personal stereomicroscope.
All collectively, we have been capable of finding and establish greater than 40 species from all the primary teams of hydrozoans, together with siphonophores, trachylines, leptothecathes, and anthoathecates. Working with hydromedusae was new for me and I found that observing them was tougher than figuring out the polyps, nevertheless it was additionally attention-grabbing in its personal method. The hydrozoans that caught my consideration essentially the most have been the polyps from the suborder Capitata, as a result of their morphology could be very completely different from the hydroids that I’ve noticed in my MSc venture up to now. Capitate hydroids don’t have a protecting theca, they possess tentacles that find yourself in a ball of nematocysts (so-called capitate tentacles), and they’re absent from nearly all my samples from Mallorca, that are as an alternative dominated by hydroids belonging to the Order Lepthothecata.
My curiosity for hydrozoans, the good set of consultants we had as academics, and the charismatic animals that we collected have been the proper mixture for me to have an unimaginable expertise on this course. I believe that programs like these are a wonderful alternative for newbies to be taught with consultants from completely different components of the world. Interacting with all of those superb folks was very rewarding at each cultural and scientific ranges, and this complete expertise motivated me to maintain on finding out these attention-grabbing animals which might be part of the advanced functioning of our oceans.