Category Archives: Polychaeta

New Master thesis: studies of Diopatra polychaetes

Ongoing studies of the polychaete worms collected by « R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen» cruises are revealing a great diversity of species including many that are also completely new to science. This observation is demonstrated in a recently completed master thesis presented by Mr Martin M. Hektoen for the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at University of Bergen.

Mr. Hektoen decided to to respond to our announcement in 2013 of a master project and studied the genus Diopatra in the GCLME and CCLME regions supervised by Dr. Nataliya Budaeva.

Nataliya Budaeva and Martin M. Hektoen

Nataliya Budaeva and Martin M. Hektoen

He presented his work in public before the examination commission on June 26th. The thesis is begun with an opening quote from H. Hemsworth Day (1960) reading: “ … the question as to whether there is one species of Diopatra or several species is a matter of controversy.”

Hektoen’s resolution to what may now seem more as a deceased controversy is a paper recognizing nine new species of Diopatra from the East Atlantic. The studies are based on detailed morphological studies, – microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy, and supplemented by DNA-sequencing of mitochondrial genes. Laborious descriptions, identification keys, and a phylogenetic analysis are some of the important elements of the thesis contents.

Adjudication of the work was performed by polychaete specialist Dr Eivind Oug from the Norwegian Institute of Water Research, Grimstad, and Prof. Anders Hobæk from the Department of Biology at UiB. We extend our congratulations to Martin for his comprehensive work and fine work, and are looking forward to see the results in a peer reviewed publication in the near future. Cheers, Martin!

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

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