Teaching about sea squirts, worms and skeleton shrimps in Drøbak

As part of the ArtsDatabanken project “Assessing biodiversity in the marine algae belt“, we taught a class of eager students and consultants about the species of our project. The course did not only comprise theoretical lectures, but really hands-on experience. We went out to different spots in Drøbak and collected the samples ourselves with participants by snorkeling and dredging from a small boat. Later on the lab, the material was sorted and the species identified and documented by the participants. Hence, the course provided the full package.

For example, during one trip across the Oslofjord to Småskjær the sea was bit rougher than usual so that we did not only get wet in the sea, but also in the boat and had a bumpy right across the fjord. On the other hand, collecting in sea grass meadows in Sandspollen meant a quite sea, but a lot of mud to wade through before be able to start snorkeling. However, the participants enjoyed very much and eager to get to the field out each day.

The participants, especially the consultants, were very satisfied with course and said they learned a much. They unanimously highlighted the need for such taxonomic courses to improve their skills in identifying species beyond the usual suspects. They also mentioned that are too little opportunities of such courses. Hence, a big shutout for taxonomic training at stages of the career. There is a need for courses as students and as employees. Taxonomy is field of science that still has to provide a lot, not only to research, but also to education.

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