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 Contact lenses with medicine and sugar
18.04.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

nachricht Better healing for eardrum injuries? - new adhesive structures for medical applications
17.04.2019 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH

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 simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

Im Focus: Newly discovered mechanism of plant hormone auxin acts the opposite way

Auxin accumulation at the inner bend of seedling leads to growth inhibition rather than stimulation as in other plant tissues.

Increased levels of the hormone auxin usually promote cell growth in various plant tissues. Chinese scientists together with researchers from the Institute of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

In vivo super-resolution photoacoustic computed tomography by localization of single dyed droplets

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Contact lenses with medicine and sugar

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

First astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>