Final month, our mission NorHydro (along with ForBio Analysis College of Biosystematics and mission MEDUSA) organized a course on variety, systematics and biology of Hydrozoa on the Marine Organic Station in Espegrend. Fifteen individuals from 9 completely different nations got here all the way in which to Bergen to study 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 mission. That is what she needed to say:
Once 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 truly have been. After some discussions, a number of studying, and a good quantity of taking a look at photos of hydroids and hydromedusae, I made a decision to work with these inconspicuous invertebrates for my MSc mission underneath the supervision of Dr Luis Martell (College Museum of Bergen) and Dr. Maria Capa (College of the Balearic Islands). My mission goals to judge 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 lovely place to reside, and these habitats present ecosystem providers that contribute enormously to the economic system of the world, however a nasty administration of them can generate necessary damages and drastic modifications within the ecosystem. One method to monitor environmental impacts in these habitats is by observing the response of their organic communities, so for this mission 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 yr, and I’ll analyze the assemblages rising on laborious substrates (like rocks) and in addition these rising on a vital Mediterranean mushy substrate: the endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica.
Initially, working with benthic hydrozoans was very difficult for me because the specimens I discover are simply neglected if one just isn’t looking rigorously for them. However the extra time I dedicate to watch 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 troublesome process and I noticed early that I wanted some assist, so I used to be very pleased when the chance arose to use for the course “Variety, Systematics and Biology of Hydrozoa” in Bergen. There, I had the prospect to fulfill a number of the main scientific consultants within the area 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 study in the course of the completely different actions of the course, however on the finish these organisms have been capable of catch my consideration and time flew between lectures, sampling journeys, and laboratory work. One side of the course that I significantly loved is the truth that it introduced collectively individuals 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 normally the primary ones to be processed, since hydromedusae are fairly fragile they usually are inclined to undergo 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 watch 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, however it was additionally attention-grabbing in its personal approach. The hydrozoans that caught my consideration essentially the most have been the polyps from the suborder Capitata, as a result of their morphology may be very completely different from the hydroids that I’ve noticed in my MSc mission to date. 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 a substitute 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 feel that programs like these are a wonderful alternative for newcomers to study with consultants from completely different elements of the world. Interacting with all of those superb folks was very rewarding at each cultural and scientific ranges, and this entire expertise motivated me to maintain on learning these attention-grabbing animals which are part of the advanced functioning of our oceans.