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2 Posts tagged with the bryozoans tag

After filling our water tanks and having breakfast, the Halton left Bergen harbor for our first diving site in Vatlestraumen on Sunday morning.


Leaving Bergen.JPGLeaving Bergen on Sunday morning.


This location is of interest to the bryozoan team because a species list was done in the area by Professor John Ryland (University of Swansea) back in the late 1950s. After dive checks are completed the bryozoan team jumps in.


checks_before_dive.JPGHamish supervising dive checks with Piotr.


Bryo_team in water.JPG

Joanne, Piotr and Sally about to dive.


As the Halton circles, waiting for the divers the return to the surface, the Norwegian coastguard arrives and asks us to move from the area as the police are undertaking a missing persons search. With bryozoans and rocks on board, the days dive plan is hastily revised and we head for Åskenset, a short steam away.


The horse mussel team, which consists of Dr William (Bill) Sanderson, Prof Hamish Mair and Rebecca Grieves from Heriot Watt University, are looking for maerl (coralline red algae) and horse mussel beds as part of their biogenic reef project.


mussel team.JPGBill and Rebecca waiting to dive while Hamish supervises.


After half an hour down, the divers come to the surface – it has proved unsuccessful and we move on. After a 2 hour steam through some narrow fjordic passages, we arrive in Herdlefjorden at a site commonly known as the Shark Wall. This vertical wall is unusual due to the shoals of tope (a small shark species), which congregate in these waters.


Piotr ready to go.JPGPiotr clutching his camera about to go down to the Shark Wall.


This would finish off the day’s underwater activities before the Halton started to steam north through wonderful Nordic scenery. Several hours later, we moor up overnight. The work for the day has not finished, however, as microscopes come out and Mary and Joanne review the days samples.



Bryozoans on rocks from Vatlestraumen.



Bryozoan zooids seen down the microscope.


More diving in the coming days. Check back for more soon!


This week, I and 11 other marine scientists will be heading off to the Norwegian fjords to look at the effects of climate change on marine life. This includes four members associated with the Museum who investigate bryozoans (also known as sea mats or moss animals).


We are aiming to photograph and collect samples of current marine Bryozoa to assess changes in the species composition of the Norwegian fauna in comparison with historical surveys from circa 1900-1920 and 1963 in the Bergen and Trondheim areas. The collections will be done by SCUBA diving in the cold clear waters of the Norwegian fjords.


We are investigating to see if the species biodiversity has changed in response to increases in sea water temperature. The team will also be surveying artifical structures to look at patterns of distribution of non-native and invasive bryozoan species in north European waters.


Cellaria webcopy.jpg

A colony of the bryozoan, Cellaria sinuosa growing on a rocky wall.


An electron microscope image showing the colony units.


The bryozoan research team consists of four members:


  • Mary Spencer Jones: Bryozoa and Entoprocta curator at the Museum
  • Dr Joanne Porter: Scientific Associate at the Museum/Heriot-Watt University Associate Professor
  • Sally Rouse: Heriot-Watt/Scottish Association of Marine Sciences PhD student and former Natural History Museum Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellow
  • Dr Piotr Kuklinski: Scientific Associate at the Museum/Institute of Oceanology Poland Associate Professor



The bryozoan research team: Mary Spencer Jones, Dr Joanne Porter, Sally Rouse and Dr Piotr Kuklinski.

The expedition kicks off on Saturday 28 June when the team join the research vessel MV Halton in Bergen and get all the equipment loaded on board. Joanne and I are making a visit to the bryozoan collection held at the Bergen Museum of Natural History prior to joining the cruise. Just time for a bit of final last minute packing before we head off on Thursday morning!


For more information on bryozoans, have a look at the Bryozoa of the British Isles Scratchpad website.


Mary Spencer Jones