On the hunt for marine invertebrates in Trøndelag

In the last two weeks of August, the ArtsDatabanken team has came together for the first big field trip. While sadly not everyone could join, seven researchers from Oslo, Berlin and Gothenburg comprised the diverse and highly motivated group. The destination was Sletvik, a biological station in the middle of nowhere (though a beautiful nowhere (Fig.1)), just a bit less than a 2-hour drive from Trondheim.

Fig.1: The station and the view from the front door after a(nother) rainy day
Photos: Thomas Stach (A) and Ana Teresa Capucho (B)

The goal was to collect different marine invertebrates, particularly from the groups Tunicata, Nemertea, Crustacea, Polychaeta and Entoprocta, aiming for the marine algae belt (Fig. 2). Luckily, we were also able to collect specimens applicable to other research projects being conducted by the FEZ group and other ArtsDatabanken projects (Fig.3). Sampling was made by snorkeling at seven different locations around Sletvik and nearby fjords (Fig. 4). After collection, we sorted the animals in the lab, made preliminary species identifications, photographed and, lastly, fixed them in either formalin or ethanol. In most cases, we also kept a separated small piece of the animals in ethanol, for later DNA barcoding.

Fig.2: Examples of marine invertebrates sampled in Sletvik belonging to project target groups: (A), (B) and (C) polychates from the family Serpulidae, (D) ghost shrimp (Caprella linearis) and (E) ribbon worm (Micrura fasciolata)
Photos: Ana Teresa Capucho
Fig.3: Other marine invertebrates identified in Sletvik: (A) blue-rayed limpet (Patella pellucida), (B) nudibranch (Limacia clavigera), and (C) bryozoan (Electra pilosa). Can you spot the flatworm in (C)?
Photos: Ana Teresa Capucho

The weather was not always great (in fact, it was terrible most of the time), but the basement sauna helped us cope with the cold and rain. Also, the rare times of sunshine made field work even more enjoyable!

Overall, we can say the field trip was a success since we recorded many different species and new finds for the region. The only target group we missed was goblet worms (Entoprocta)—which we still have not found, but remain hopeful they’ll turn up on the next field trip!

Fig.4: Sampling in kelp forests (A), part of the team ready for snorkeling (B), looking for seagrass meadows (C), Thomas unconventional way of sampling (D) and Matz appreciating a great spot for snorkeling before realizing the water was terribly cold
Photos: Mali Ramsfjell (A and C) and Marianne Nilsen Haugen (B, D and E)


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