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January 5, 2012

Zoology Department Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Jan 5, 2012

Zoology Department Seminar


How many species of marine symbionts are there?

Geoff Boxshall
Department of Zoology, NHM


Nearly a quarter of a million described species are known from the oceans and about 2000 new ones are described each year. Our knowledge of the extent of marine biodiversity is growing and we are now better able to estimate how many unknown species are out there….and what groups they belong to. However, there has been no census of marine parasites. By omitting the parasites from our calculations, it seems that we are seriously underestimating species richness in the oceans.  About 40% of the 10,000 described species of marine copepods are parasites or symbionts of host taxa ranging from sponges to mammals. The diversity of marine parasites is underestimated, even in UK waters, and in some groups of marine parasites, such as the tantulocarids and gregarines we have only begun to scratch the surface.




Polychaete biodiversity in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica

Adrian Glover et al.
Department of Zoology, NHM


The Amundsen Sea is one of the most poorly-sampled regions of the world for marine fauna. There are almost no published reports of benthic samples from this region, mainly owing to the great distance from ports and heavy sea-ice. During an oceanographic cruise in 2008 with the RRS James Clark Ross we were able to reach Pine Island Bay - a region normally characterised by year-round sea ice – and take a suite of benthic samples at depths from 500 – 1500m. We used an epibenthic sledge to sample the macrofaunal component of the diversity, and recovered just over 200,000 individuals from 36 samples. Here we report the polychaete component of the biodiversity at species level, from approximately 17,000 individuals that have been identified. Many species new to science have been recovered and are being described in accompanying taxonomic projects. At a local scale, there are significant differences in the composition of the fauna within the deep 1500m basins compared to the 500m typical shelf environment. Using published datasets, we also compare diversity on the Antarctic shelf with other comparable deep-sea and shelf data worldwide.


TUESDAY 10th January

Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room (DC.LG16)
12:00 -13:00



For additional details on attending this seminar see