Monthly Archives: June 2014

The workshop has ended

It’s been a busy, productive and fun week – thank you so much to all our participants for the hard work they’ve done and the good cheer they brought!

IMG_0255_edStay tuned for updates on results and continued work – though the workshop has finished, work is only just beginning!


Participant snapshots – Sara

IMG_0249 Name: Sara Castillo Oñate

Home institution: University of Vigo (Spain) and Spanish Institute of Oceanography

What do you work with at home?

I’m preparing a paper about composition and distribution of macrobenthos from Mauritanian deepwaters, based on samples collected with Agassiz trawl between 150 and 1600m.

I’m also working on mollusc identification (except cephalopods) from CCLME region.



Sara and Lena on board the "Aurelia"

Sara and Lena on board the “Aurelia”

What are you working on here?

I am part of the “Team Mollusca” helping the expert on bivalves Rudo von Cosel and learning a lot about the identification of this group. I’m also separating the mixed mollusc samples to morpho-specie level. This is my first workshop and I’m really happy for the experience.

Participant snapshot – Sidi


Name: Sidi M. MoctarIMG_0214

Home institution: Institut Mauritanien de Recherches Océanographiques et des Pêches (IMROP)Laboratoire d’Ecologie et Biologie des organismes Aquatiques/ Mauritanian Institute of Oceanographic Research and fishing

What do you work with at home?

I am responsible for the studies of ecology, biodiversity and systematics of macrobenthos

What are you working on here?

I am part of the group working on identifying the bivalves that have been collected in the CCLME and GCLME regions.

Participant snapshots – Kouadio

IMG_0245Name: Kouakou Norbert KOUADIO, PhD in Sciences and Environment ManagementIMG_0217

Home institution : University of Nangui Abrogoua (Abidjan; Côte d’Ivoire)

What do you work with at home?

I am a teacher and a researcher, and my areas of expertise are Hydrobiology: Biology and Ecology of Benthic macroinvertebrates, and Environmental impact study (aquatic fauna)

What are you working on here?

I am part of the team working on mollusc identification based on sample material of marine invertebrates from the African CCLME and GCLME regions. The main focus of this workshop has been on the Bivalvia, whilst we last year worked mainly on Gastropods.

Participant snapshots – travel letter from Rudo

We are fortunate enough to have with us an expert on African bivalves, Dr. Rudo von Cosel from the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France. 

Rudo (centre) with two of  his workshop colleagues on "Team Mollusca; Lena and Sara

Rudo (centre) with two of his workshop colleagues on “Team Mollusca”; Lena and Sara

Below are his words on how he’s finding the Norwegian MIWA experience:

IMG_0246Here I am in the high and cold North, but the weather is not so bad here; after some windy days we have now bright sun which is visible to almost 23h in the evening. The train ride was fantastic. 2 nights and a day, always with the printout of my book under the arm! Indeed the book is a success, and everybody uses it, and the identification work progresses more rapidly thanks to it. However, the identifications are very much more difficult than thought because most samples are grab samples, and the small, very young and ultra juvenile species are much over-represented.


Rudo and Kouadio onboard the "Aurelia"

Rudo and Kouadio onboard the “Aurelia”

Yesterday we went out at sea with the station boat for sightseeing in the fjord around the marine station, the sea was like a lake which is exceptional!

The food is excellent, and the kitchen brigade consists of two of us and changes every day, whereas the people from the institute go shopping for the food. I am one of the first in the kitchen for doing the morning tea. After the breakfast we sit at the binocular until midday and after the lunch to 20h, of course with a coffee break.

We have treated 557 lots up to now but there remains still a lot to do until Saturday evening.P1000623


Norway is fantastic, and the colleagues are very very friendly and helpful; it is a real pleasure for me to be in a marine station after such a long time!

Now back to the binocular where some tricky Corbulidae and small Tellinids wait for me.


People are hard at work from early morning to late at night, and the amount of finished material is steadily increasing. We did lure our guests out on a little boat trip yesterday, which was very nice. Below are some photos of work in progress: discussions in the lab, identification work, drilling through mollusc shell to get to the tissue inside, piles of material and labels, and some snapshots of general life at the workshop.

Pictures 2014 workshop

Participant snapshots – Williams

williams Name: Akanbi Bamikole Williams

Home Institution: Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research

What do you work with at home? I am a Principal Research Officer at my home institution with special interest in fish biology, fisheries management and benthic ecology. Presently working on marine fauna diversity in Nigeria.

What are you working on here?  I have been working on taxonomic details of different families of polychaetes and some other animal groups (Molluscs and Crustatceans). I am also going through the process of preparing samples for DNA Barcoding – specimen selection, filling-in the various data sheets, taking photographs of specimens, tissues extraction and the final plate preparation. It’s been a wonderful experience.

Bristle worms from the family Maldanidae. Of of the techniques used for distinguishing the different species is to stain the animals with colours and use the patterning that results as a morphological character

Bristle worms from the family Maldanidae. One of the techniques used for separating different species is to stain the animals with colour  and use the patterning that results as a morphological character

Stained Maldanids

Stained Maldanids

Participant snapshots – Trond


Name: Trond R. Oskars

Home institution: University Museum of Bergen, Norway (blog here)

What do you work with at home?

Samples, big and small

Samples, big and small

I have recently been working on preparing material for the workshop by sorting benthic samples from the West-African coast, paying particular attention to the Bivalvia (clams, oysters, cockles etc.) and the Ophistobranchs (a group of gastropods/snails), as these are some of the focus groups for the workshop.   I defined the specimens to morphospecies and/or genus, to ease the work for the experts who will be working on identifying them to species. I am also preparing papers on Cephalaspidea and Philinidae (snails) from my master thesis work, and preparing to start my Ph.D.

Jar upon jar upon jar of molluscs

Jar upon jar upon jar of molluscs

Creating some order








What are you working on here?IMG_0184

On the workshop I have been nominated as the “gastropod team”. The previous workshop got a lot of nice results on the gastropods, and it was decided to continue the work this year. My task is to organize the species by family, and pick suitable specimens from target families that we wish to do DNA barcoding on, prepare the barcoding samples, and keep the database up to date.

Aaand we’re off!

Most of our participants arrived over the course of the weekend, and work is already well under way. The 2014 workshop will focus on the Mollusca – especially the bivalves – and our ever-present polychaetes, from both the GCLME and the CCLME.

Like last year, we are based at the field station of the University of Bergen, which is a great venue for workshops.


Our field station at Espegrend

Discussions in the lab

Discussions in the lab

Working on the bivalves

Working on the bivalves

We have – amongst our in total 15 participants – no less than nine nationalities representing nine different institutions present!

Part of "Team Mollusca"

Part of “Team Mollusca”

Lab work


Many of us also participated in last years workshop, and it’s been very nice to have a reunion with that lovely crowd!


Some of last year’s participants had other obligations and were unfortunately unable to attend. We do have some new additions as well, and they are very welcome. As the pictures show, work is already well under way, we will get back to the strategies and results of the work in coming blog posts.

We are generation a lot of data to keep track of

We are generation a lot of data to keep track of