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 Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>