Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unknown animals nearly invisible but yet there

22.03.2011
Bryozoans (moss animals) are a group of aquatic invertebrates that are found in great variety throughout the world, with well over 100 species in Sweden alone. Yet little is known about them. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have now studied Swedish bryozoan species using DNA techniques.

“There are currently over 6 000 known species of Bryozoa. Earlier studies were based on visible characteristics of these animals, which is not sufficient to decide how the species are related to each other. To understand the evolution of bryozoans and how they are related to other animals, it is necessary to use molecular data, that’s to say DNA,” says Judith Fuchs of the Department of Zoology at the University of Gothenburg.

When Bryozoa were discovered in the 16th century, they were regarded as plants. Later on they were found to have a nervous system, muscles and an intestinal system and were classified as animals. On their own, bryozoans are barely visible to the naked eye, but like coral animals all bryozoans build colonies that reach several centimetres in size and some species build colonies of over 30cm.

In her thesis, Fuchs has studied the evolution and relationships of Bryozoa using molecular data (DNA) from more than 30 bryozoan species, most collected in Sweden. The results show that this animal group developed from a common ancestor that probably lived in the sea. Two groups of Bryozoa evolved from this common ancestor: a group that stayed in the marine environment and another that evolved in freshwater. The DNA studies of the larval stage of Bryozoa can also contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of life cycles and larval stages of other multicellular animals.

Together with her supervisor, Matthias Obst, over a period of four years she has also taken part in the marine inventory of the Swedish Species Project along the west coast of Sweden. The collection of all marine bottom-living animals is based on more than 500 samples from 400 locations.

“We found as many as 120 marine bryozoan species in our waters, and many of them had not been previously known in Sweden. We also found a completely new species of Bryozoa. This is a very small bryozoan with characteristic spikes on its surface, which I have described in my thesis.”

To date, 45 per cent of the bryozoans collected in the inventory have been determined.

“Sweden has a very rich bryozoan fauna. On your next trip to the beach you might perhaps take a closer look at seaweed or pebbles. If you see a white covering with small holes in it, you have found a bryozoan colony for yourself.”

The thesis New Insights into the Evolution of Bryozoa - An Integrative Approach was publicly defended on 11 March. Supervisor: Matthias Obst, PhD, and Professor Per Sundberg.

Journal: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2010, 56:370-379 Author: Fuchs J, Iseto T, Hirose M, Sundberg P, Obst M

Title: The first internal molecular phylogeny of the animal phylum Entoprocta (Kamptozoa)

For further information please contact:
Judith Fuchs
Mobile: +46 (0)76 272 8443
judith.fuchs@zool.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/24283

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>