Polychaeta projects

Investigating species diversity of the Glyceriformia (Glyceridae, Goniadidae) in shelf areas off western Africa

imgp0540P.I.: Tom Alvestad
Dept. of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen

Together with collaborators from Ghana and Nigeria we are integrating morphology and COI-barcoding to investigate the species diversity of Glyceriformia in our material. Insofar as possible, specimens are identified to species or genus level using available literature with keys or morphological descriptions. In cases where the specimens do not match any species description and may be new species, temporary names are assigned. For each recorded species, a number of specimens are selected for DNA barcoding.


The taxonomy of magelonid bristle worms off western Africa based on molecular and morphological data


P.I.: Kate Mortimer

Dept. of Natural Sciences, Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales

The Magelonidae is a family of marine bristle worms with a world-wide distribution, generally found in shallow waters. The worms have a unique flattened, spade-like head region, which they use to dig in soft sediments, giving the group its common name, the shovelhead worms. Very few species of magelonid from African waters have been described and very little is known about the diversity of species along the western African coast.

Using material from MIWA collections the project aims to revise the magelonids from this region. Kate visited Bergen in November 2015 to identify material of 20+ putative species for barcoding. Further material for barcoding will be identified at the University Museum of Bergen during January 2017. Morphological drawings and species descriptions will be made back in Cardiff.

West African Magelonidae

West African Magelonidae

Revision of Hyalinoecia (Onuphidae) bristle worms based on molecular and morphological data

Nataliya BudaevaP.I.: Nataliya Budaeva

Dept. of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen

Hyalinoecia is a genus of deep-sea onuphid bristle worms with world-wide distribution. The worms have quill-like totally secreted organic tubes that they drag along while crawling on the sea floor in search of food. Hyalinoecia shows extremely high intraspecific variation of all diagnostic morphological characters resulting in erroneous identifications of the species. Hyalinoecia

For example, Hyalinoecia tubicola has been widely reported in the literature as a cosmopolitan species. Nevertheless, this has not been tested with molecular data. In the current project, Nataliya attempts to revise the genus utilizing molecular data and species delimitation approaches. Hyalinoecia is very common in MIWA materials providing high number of specimens for genetic analysis.

Systematics and taxonomy of bristle worms from the genus Onuphis (Onuphidae) in Eastern Atlantic

Andres AriasP.I: Andrés Arias

University of Oviedo, Spain

Onuphis is the type genus of the family Onuphidae reported world-wide mostly in shallow waters and comprising approximately 40 species. The genus has never been revised completely and taxonomic status of many species remains uncertain. Andres has been working on Onuphis from the European waters and has recently published two papers (Arias & Paxton, 2014, 2015) revising the European fauna of this genus.

He will come with a one-week visit (November 2016) to the University Museum of Bergen to study Onuphis from West Africa.Onuphis_MIWA

Diversity of annelids from the families Cossuridae and Orbiniindae in West Africa

Anna ZhadanP.I.: Anna Zhadan

White Sea Biological Station, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

The project aims to revise the fauna of two families of bristle worms, Cossuridae and Orbiniidae, from West Africa.

Cossura sp.B, Mauritania, GR13-1

Cossura sp.B, Mauritania, GR13-1

During her 2-week visit in 2016, Anna has studies the collection of worms from these two families. These annelids have poor external morphology allowing only preliminary identification of studied specimens to morphotypes. Anna plans to utilize barcoding tools to estimate the number of putative genetic species in both families. This will allow identification of species with confidence and subsequent description of potentially new species.


Phylogeny of the bristle worm family Lumbrineridae based on morphological and molecular data

PolinaP.I: Polina Borisova

Dpt. of Invertebrate Zoology, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

MSc project (2016–2018)

Supervisors: Dr. Nataliya Budaeva (UiB), Prof. Alexander Tzetlin (MSU)

Lumbrineridae is a highly diverse family of bristle worms with world-wide distribution.

Despite Lumbrineridaetheir poor external morphology and lack of apparent distinctive morphological characters they comprise 19 genera erected mainly based on the structure of the complex maxillae – the upper jaws located in the muscular ventral proboscis. The project is largely based on the MIWA collections since the generic diversity of Lumbrineridae in West Africa is very high. The aim of this master project is to provide the first molecular-based phylogeny of Lumbrineridae utilizing nuclear and mitochondrial markers and to compare it with published phylogeny based on morphological data. This will help to access monophyly of the most species-rich genera and to trace the evolution of morphological characters (e.g. the presence of compound anterior falcigers, shape of maxillae, presence of parapodial lobes, etc.).

Diversity of Aponuphis (Onuphidae) bristle worms in West Africa

PolinaP.I.: Polina Borisova

Dpt. of Invertebrate Zoology, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

BSc thesis (2016)

Supervisors: Dr. Nataliya Budaeva (UiB), Prof. Alexander Tzetlin (MSU)

During her project, Polina has studied about ninety specimens of Aponuphis from 22 stations off western African coast from Morocco to Angola using light and scanning electron microscopy. A fragment of 16 rDNA was obtained for 31 specimens of Aponuphis and two specimens from a sister genus Onuphis. Neighbor joining analysis revealed the presence of two species complexes (A. bilineata species complex and A. brementi species complex), A. ornata and a potentially new species Aponuphis sp. Aponuphis are known to have various color patterns that have been traditionally used in species identifications. Besides three typical color morphs characteristic to A. bilineata, A. brementi, and A. ornata, the large number of specimens displayed indistinct color pattern of transversal pigmented bands or dots on anterior chaetigers. Specimens with such coloration were found in A. bilineata, A. brementi and the new species Aponuphis sp.  Aponuphis_bilineata

The project has resulted in a manuscript which has been recently submitted to a peer reviewed journal: Borisova P. Budaeva N., Schepetov D. Aponuphis Kucheruk, 1978 (Annelida: Onuphidae) from western African waters. Invertebrate Zoology (submitted).

Diversity of Diopatra (Onuphidae) bristle worms in West Africa

Martin HektoenP.I.: Martin Hektoen

Dept. of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen

Master thesis (2015)

Supervisors: Dr. Nataliya Budaeva and Prof. Endre Willassen

During his project, Martin has studied an extensive material of Diopatra polychaetes from the shelf areas along the West African coast collected by R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen. He learned the basic methods of taxonomical work such as light microscopy, preparation of slides of parapodia, digital photography as well as scanning electron microscopy. Diopatra_MIWA

He also worked in the DNA lab and obtained a good number of sequences of 16S rDNA and COI for most of species he had in hand. In his thesis, Martin has described nine new species of Diopatra and found four more species previously reported from the area. He also provided phylogenetic analysis of Diopatra and reported few previously overlooked morphological characters that appeared to by synapomorphies of well supported clades within the genus. After successful defence of his thesis, Martin continued to work on Diopatra and has studied type materials from the Hamburg Museum and obtained new genetic data. Currently Martin, Nataliya and Endre are working on the revision of Diopatra from East Atlantic based on morphological and genetic data.