We are running a calendar count down from the 1st to the 24th of December on our collections blog, and MIWA is frequently featured!
Here is a interactive map of all the samples (2175 as we speak!) that we have submitted to the BOLD-database for genetic barcoding.
You can also follow this link to find it.
By clicking around on the map you can see how many specimens we have submitted from each station, as well as photos of the animals and wether or not the sequencing was successful and resulted in a genetic barcode.
The samples we have submitted (so far – there are still plans to do more!) include several animal main taxa; Crustaceans, Echinoderms, Molluscs and Polychaetes. These animals have been sorted out and identified by employees at the invertebrate collections, and by visiting guest researchers who have come here to work in the material – so it is very much a combined effort behind this.
Not all our material is suited for genetic analyses; fixation in formaldehyde gives well preserved specimens that are well suited for morphological examinations – which is the backbone of taxonomy – but it distorts the DNA so that the samples are not eligible for molecular work.
Provided that the material has been fixated in a DNA-friendly way (i.e. in ethanol), there is a lot of work to be done before we are left with identified specimens. We wrote a bit about the sorting of samples her: “biodiversity in a dish”.
We are still working actively with this material and with the results we are getting – some of it has already been published – se our list of publications here – and more is on the way.
Today, the mail brought us this:
A good thing too, as we were running out of plates to fill. We are currently busy preparing four (possibly five) plates of material from the west coast of Africa.
There will be one plate of Amphipoda, which we have not submitted from this region previously (resulting from the workshop that Anne Helene and Ania had in December).
The remainder of the shipment will be polychaetes that have been identified both by our resident taxonomists and the guests that came here to work on the material over the past couple of months; São, Julio, Kate, and –most recently – Mario.
Mario arrived here on the 4th of January, and stayed for a month – we’ll make a proper post about his work here in a bit (he is currently on his way to field work in the Antarctic, but has promised a post later on). His main field of interest are Terebellomorph polychaetes, and he focussed especially on the genus Pista during his stay.
So now we are working on organizing, photographing, cataloguing and otherwise preparing the material – our guest have been busy, so there is a wealth of new data to deal with.
We have new guests arriving in a few days; there’s plenty to do. Stay tuned for updates!
Let’s hope for successful sequencing and many interesting results!
“Please share your love of biodiversity this Valentine’s Day with the hashtag #bdvalentine. Have fun and help raise awareness of biodiversity and conservation! This is a chance to draw your audience to your social media and to express appreciation for your partners, grantees, collaborators, or someone you love.”
We are joining in, don’t miss out!
Almost 300 researchers from many nations were convened last week at the beautiful Campus Westend of the Goethe–University in Frankfurt for the 8th International Crustacean Congress (ICC-8). Many interesting talks and high quality posters were presented over six days. A special workshop on DNA-identification and barcoding filled the auditorium to the the edge and left many attendants standing through the session. EW gave a 15 minutes talk on results from our barcoding of decapods and stomatopods. He particularly emphasized how barcoding can reveal discordant species identifications among different labs and research environments and pinpoint the need for reidentification and / or taxonomic revision of species.
The Casino building of the Goethe University
Ciliopagurus caparti belongs to the group of hermit crabs that is sometimes called left- handed because the left claw is larger than the right, as opposed to the situation in other hermit crabs. C. caparti was originally described as a new genus Trizopagurus. The original description in Bulletin, Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, 28(39): 1–8 is available for download from ATOL:Decapoda. We hope that our just submitted samples will yield DNA-barcodes of the species in the BOLD database.
I just photographed some specimens from the family Scyllaridae, and they are such funny looking critters that I decide to share them on the blog. The Scyllaridae are found in all warm oceans and seas, and typically live from shallow water and down to depths of about 500 m (according to Wikipedia).
Pictured is a Scyllarus carpati from Mauritania, collected by sledge at 100 meters.
If you click here, you can se the distribution of the species, as well as its IUCN Red List status. We will take tissue samples from this specimen and send it for COI DNA barcoding, which will be incorporated in the BOLD database. There are records of specimens from the same genus recorded in BOLD already, but none of this particular species, as you can see if you search for Scyllarus carpati here.
The crustacea work-group focused particularly on crabs and shrimps. Some of the hermit crabs, a particularly difficult group, were also identified to species. A few species of squat lobsters, slipper lobsters, and five species of mantis shrimp were also identified. Three 95 sample plates were prepared for DNA-barcoding.
Sakaila africana was recognized as a new species by Raymond B. Manning and L.B. Holthuis in 1981. Their publication in The Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology is an important source to the identification of West African crabs. An electronic version of the publication is available on this link. Our workshop found Sakaila africana in samples from Guinea Conakry.