Group of the month: Phylum Chordata, subphylum Tunicata (Previously Urochordata)

Written by Line Willersrud and Rita M. Austin The phylum Chordata contains the three subphylums, Tunicata, Cephalochordata and Vertebrata. Vertebrata, which includes humans and all other mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians and reptiles, are differentiated from other chordates by having an enclosed vertebral column, the backbone. But inclusion in […]

Insights into bear evolution from a Pleistocene polar bear genome

A 130,000 to 115,000 years old polar bear jawbone fossil from Svalbard. Photo: Karsten Sund, Natural History Museum Oslo.

Group of the month: Family Caprellidae

Spooky scary skeleton shrimp, send shivers down your spine, their appearance will shock your soul, but certainly don’t seal your doom tonight! Family Caprellidea, otherwise known as skeleton shrimp, are small marine arthropods that are found world-wide. Using their specialized ‘feet’, called pereopods, these slender, segmented invertebrates cling […]

Research and Sustainability

There is increasing societal discussions on and measures against climate change and biodiversity loss, topics that touch the self-conception and tasks of natural history museums. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the 2030 Agenda. To what extent do the SDG affect scientific […]

Group of the Month: The Phylum Kinorhyncha

The phylum Kinorhyncha – often referred to as mud dragons – includes exclusively marine meiofaunal species. Meiofauna or meiobenthos comprises animals that are characterized by size (> 45 μm and < 1mm) in order to discriminate them from micro- and macrofauna. Accordingly, Kinorhyncha are usually < 1 mm in […]

Genomic Diversity of endangered bowhead whales

The bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the East Greenland Sea, the Svalbard region and the Barents Sea (referred to as the East Greenland-Svalbard-Barents Sea (EGSB) stock) has been intensively studied for many years by members of the FEZ group. The stock is classified as Endangered in the International Union of […]

Animal of the month: Phylum Nematomorpha

By Liepa Adomaityte Many of us would agree that planet Earth is filled with incredible beauty, and the flora and fauna we observe are breathtaking. However, in many ways, mother nature can also be macabre, horrid, and contain beings that we may only imagine in our nightmares. One […]

Mapping distribution of cirratulid using Norwegian collections

We were fortunate to obtain finding from ArtsDatabanken for new project. Yesterday the contracts were signed and hence our project can start soon. We are an international team of researchers: Torsten Struck and Rita Austin from Norway, Arne Nygren from Sweden, and Maria Capa from Spain. Maybe not […]

Animal of the month: Intertidal and littoral rove beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)

Insects are not particularly diverse in the marine and coastal habitats. This contrasts strikingly with their dominance in most terrestrial ecosystems. Yet, certain insect groups have been quite successful in coastal environment, and one good example is the beetle family Staphylinidae. Diversity of the littoral and intertidal staphylinids […]

Using skims of the genome to reveal if there are two genera in Allodia fungus gnats or not

Usually I work with marine invertebrates from a group called Lophotrochozoa, which comprises among others mollusks, segmented worms and flatworms. However, the paper featured in this blog is the first of several papers to come on insects. While the others will come from Marianne’s PhD project on Aegialites […]