Scholar visits – Ellisiv and Maria

A visitor put up from two of our MSc college students (on this case co-supervised with NTNU) who had been right here on a analysis go to for 3 weeks in January 2024. 

We’re Maria Buhaug Grankvist and Ellisiv Tomasgard Raftevold, and for the previous three weeks we’ve got been visiting the College Museum in Bergen to work on our grasp’s initiatives. It’s been a number of enjoyable, a number of exhausting work and really helpful, because the Bergen College Museum actually is the place to be if you’re working with marine invertebrates.

Each our theses concentrate on marine invertebrates, however two totally different phyla. Maria is working with cyclostomatid Bryozoans, whereas Ellisiv appears at Polychaetes. We write our masters for the NTNU College Museum in Trondheim in collaboration with the College Museum in Bergen and the initiatives “Digitization of Norwegian Bryozoa” (NorDigBryo) and “Marine Annelid Variety in Arctic Norway” (ManDAriN). Hold studying, and you’ll study our initiatives and what we advocate to do when visiting Bergen!

Ellisiv’s marine annelids:
I’m Ellisiv and in my grasp’s thesis, I examine a marine Annelid or Polychaete genus known as Flabelligera throughout the household Flabelligeridae. Flabelligerids are principally benthic and will be discovered from the intertidal zone right down to the deep sea. They like residing within the sand or mud, or beneath rocks, and they are often fairly small and have sediment camouflage or a very clear physique and outer sheath and will subsequently be fairly exhausting to search out. Should you do discover them they’re fairly cool to take a look at, and if they’re clear, you possibly can see their inner organs and inexperienced circulatory system. Their most outstanding character is the cephalic cage, which is a circle of bristles round their mouths forming a form of cage. Within the ecosystem, these animals have an vital position in that they for instance eat the marine snow that falls to the underside of the oceans in order that it may be recycled again into the meals chain.

Flabelligera affinis, a species inside this genus was till just lately considered just one species and was thought to have a worldwide distribution. This, nonetheless, was proven to not be true when Salazar-Vallejo 2012 restricted F. affinis to arctic areas and reinstated F. vaginifera which was beforehand synonymized with F. affinis, and proved that it was at the very least two totally different species sorted into one. Additionally wanting on the materials we’ve got within the museum collections and DNA samples it was suspected that there are a number of totally different species sorted into F. affinis.

That is the issue I’m making an attempt to resolve in my grasp’s thesis, and to do that I want to review the specimens discovered within the museum collections which might be sorted to F. affinis and take a look at their totally different morphological characters and kind them into teams. That is principally what I’ve executed in Bergen. Nonetheless, these species are very related, and sequencing their DNA to take a look at their relatedness is a really helpful addition to the morphology. Hopefully, I can get a step nearer to fixing this taxonomic confusion in my grasp’s and we are able to get to know what number of species are hiding inside Flabelligera.

Maria and the bryozoans:
I’m Maria, and for my grasp thesis I’m recording the variety of bryozoan species throughout the order Cyclostomatida in Norwegian waters (which means off the coast of Norway, the arctic ocean and a few close by areas). Along with making a guidelines of recorded species, I’m mapping out their geographic and bathymetric distribution. Briefly, I’m making an attempt to offer a solution to the query: What species of Cyclostomatida do we’ve got, and the place do they stay?

There are two major causes for finding out this explicit phylum in my thesis. First, they’re strongly understudied, and based on a report printed by the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative in 2021, our understanding of bryozoan distribution and ecology is weak and unsatisfactory, even with “important data gaps” in some areas.
The second motive explains why it’s a difficulty that we all know so little about these animals: They’re majorly vital for a lot of marine ecosystems! Almost all bryozoans are colonial, so regardless that the zooids (time period for a person animal in a colony) is simply 0,1 – 0,5 mm lengthy, the colonies will be as a lot as half a meter tall or large! Lots of the colonies have intricate shapes supported by closely calcified structural zooids, offering habitats for a variety of different animals. On this manner, the bryozoans promote biodiversity in a lot the identical manner corals do, however they’re far much less recognized and barely protected by legislation like their coral counterparts.

To guard these lovely colonial creatures we initially must know them higher. Mapping the precise range and distribution of Norwegian bryozoans is way too massive a process for a two yr grasp thesis, however my thesis will hopefully contribute to the ultimate outcomes of the NorDigBryo challenge.

DNA sequencing
For each our theses we use an integrative method, combining the morphology (what we see/the bodily traits of the animals) with genetic sequence information. DNA sequencing is among the issues we acquired to do in Bergen, and it was very attention-grabbing to see how that is executed from begin to end. We acquired to extract the DNA, use PCR and particular primers to amplify the DNA string of curiosity and gel electrophoresis to check if the prior strategies labored.

For the profitable sequences, we acquired to attempt the Sanger sequencing methodology, and it is extremely thrilling to get to make use of a few of our personal sequences in our theses.

When in Bergen:
You’d may suppose that after we end lengthy days on the college museum, taking a look at marine invertebrates from nightfall until daybreak, we’d go and do one thing fully totally different when the weekend comes. You’d be mistaken!
In our spare time in Bergen, we went to see the College Museum of Pure Historical past and had been there virtually from when it opened till it closed as a result of there have been so many attention-grabbing exhibitions. There are such a lot of lovely creatures on the planet, a lot of them and the story of how they developed, you possibly can study on the museum. We after all particularly beloved the “deep sea-room” the place we’d sit for a very long time whereas watching a cephalopod swimming round deep sea sulfur vents..soothing.

Extra in regards to the initiatives:
Marine Annelid Variety in Arctic Norway (ManDAriN) house web page (UiB)
ManDAriN offered at Artsdatabanken

Digitization of Norwegian Bryozoa (NorDigBryo) house web page (UiO)
NorDigBryo offered at Artsdatabanken
NorDigBryo can be on Instagram – give us a comply with!

-Ellisiv & Maria

It was our pleasure internet hosting these two enthusiastic company, and we want them luck within the thesis work – keep tuned for updates! 

PS: Excited by a marine grasp thesis on the College Museum of Bergen? Take a look at the weblog detailing potential initiatives, or get in contact with the workers listed!

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