The challenge of finding out hyperbenthic copepods (HYPCOP) is exclusive in a number of methods; we research a really unknown group of marine copepod species with little or no taxonomic data accessible right here, in Norway. It’s difficult as there are greater than 700 species described, and presumably extra. With pandemic lockdowns, it was onerous to have worldwide specialists come and assist us, so we needed to depend on assets accessible domestically. With so many institutes concerned from totally different corners of Norway, it was not at all times straightforward to fulfill up bodily to work on our assortment. Therefore, when it occurs, it’s a memorable occasion, and helpful progress for the challenge is made.
We now have Tone Falkenhaug because the challenge chief, located on the Institute of Marine Analysis in Flødevigen (IMR), than we’ve our collaborator from Norwegian Institute for Water Analysis (NIVA), Anders Hobæk and the three technicians on the division of pure historical past from the College of Bergen. The 12 months earlier than all of us obtained collectively in Flødevigen, so for 2021 we determined that it might be Bergen to have one other workshop.
A 12 months into our challenge we managed to construct up a considerable assortment of benthic copepods; at present we’ve round 460 registered specimens, and 195 off these are barcoded with two totally different DNA markers, mitochondrial (COI) and ribosomal (16S). What retains forward of us is the monster process of working by our specimens to label the DNA barcodes with morphological identifications. It means many hours of very exact work with the best needles, whereas sitting on the microscope.
Throughout our workshop in Bergen we obtained collectively to work by one of many copepod household timber we generated from their DNA:
Anders Hobæk is a taxonomist with a few years of expertise dissecting copepods, and collectively we went by the samples one after the other. It is vitally satisfying to have the ability to determine a specimen and get the to the identical species stage because the DNA barcode. There are a number of causes as why we select to determine species based mostly on morphology.
Not all species are straightforward to barcode, as copepods, particularly the benthic ones, are sometimes so extraordinarily tiny; it’s tough to get good high quality DNA extracted from them.
The small portions of copepod DNA goes hand in hand with larger threat of contamination of different surrounding DNA, particularly if you happen to work with extra normal markers. In addition to, even when we’ve the DNA barcode, not all copepod DNA is recognized as such, which signifies that even with the suitable DNA, when operating it by the database, it tells us that we’ve fly DNA, to provide an instance. Final however not least, in a number of circumstances, we weren’t in a position to get good DNA sequences from the copepod extracts, so the one choice is figuring out them morphologically, by dissecting the animals and with assist of literature determine the suitable genus, and even higher, the species.
Our subsequent workshop shall happen once more in Flødevigen, within the meantime we preserve you up to date about our planet of the copepods.
Comply with us for extra copepod content material @planetcopepod, see you there!