Achievements for each user project

Nicole Selzer

Larvae and young adults of Branchiostoma lanceolatum had been freshly fixed and processed to obtain the best results. Furthermore they had been prepared for different microscopy techniques (e.g. light microscopy, electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy) and for a transport to Naples, for continuing the analysis and processing of the data. In addition, fresh larva had been fixed directly for immunoreactivity with GABA, glycine, beta-tubuline and DSYT-2 for optimal imaging for confocal microscopy.

Jennifer Greenwood

During my stay in Banyuls, I was able to study in detail the patterns and timings of the development of the various pigments in the cephalochordate body and learn protocols for collecting, breeding and rearing amphioxus. I was thus able to collect all relevant stages of development for studying gene expression patterns with in situ hybridization and become familiar with the techniques for doing so. I was able to bring material back to my lab and will endeavor to build up a clearer picture of the roles my candidate genes play in pigmentation of amphioxus throughout its early development. Unfortunately, microinjection in these animals is a technique in the early stages of development, and for various technical reasons I was unable to conduct morpholino experiments during my stay, precluding functional analysis of these genes for the time being, though I hope to achieve this in the future.

Valérie Schmitt

As planned, several chloroplast-hosting sea slugs species with long-term and short-term functional retention of chloroplasts were obtained for comparative analyses and held and investigated in the laboratory. Furthermore, samples of corresponding food algae and analyses on them were performed. The scheduled analyses of photosynthetic activity by means of measurements with an Underwater Fluorometer (Diving-PAM) were started and will be continued during the extension of the research stay (as some species under investigation keep chloroplasts functional for weeks and months). Microscopic analyses, especially investigations with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) on preparations of sea slugs and algae, were carried out. Concerning the electron microscopy, the facilities in the laboratory and the personal assistance provided enabled very good performance of microscopic analyses through all procedures from embedding to microtomy until final imaging. For several preparations, the analyses with TEM revealed interesting results on chloroplast integration into the animal cells of the sea slugs which will be prepared for publication. As scheduled, preliminary findings on photo-endosymbiosis in sea slugs were investigated in more detail and extended to further observations. Analyses on photobehavior, photosynthetic activity, and functional integration of endosymbiotic chloroplasts into the cells of the sea slugs were amplified and will be further continued in the elongation of the research stay.

Bernard Picton

14 dives were made to depths between 0m and 35m to collect sponges. Approximately 204 specimens were collected and preserved in 96% ethanol for later DNA sequencing and processing for the Ulster Museum collections in Belfast. There are very few sponge DNA sequences on Genbank at present, however they have revealed major conflict between the current classification (based solely on morphology) and molecular phylogenies. Hopefully the sequence data generated from these specimens will contribute towards a more robust classification of the Demospongiae.

750 photographs were taken of the sponges in situ. These images, together with images of spicules and skeletal arrangements generated using microscope facilities in Belfast, will be used to construct web-based identification resources. These will be made available to the Encyclopedia of Life ( and World Porifera database ( ).

Alexander Kieneke

During our two weeks stay at the OOB we have collected sediment samples (sand) from different sites in the ambiance of Banyuls-sur-Mer. The aim was to extract marine gastrotrichs for phylogeographic and morphological studies. The stations which were samples are the following: Banyuls-sur-Mer (sublittoral sediment obtained with a Van Veen grab deploved from RV Nereis II); Gruissan-Plage (beach); Canet Plage (beach); Argelès-Plage (shallow water); Racou-Plage (beach); Canyelles-Almadrava-Puig-Rom, Spain (shallow water); Roses, Spain (shallow water). Except for two sites (Argelès-Plage and Racou-Plage) we found different species of Gastrotricha in our samples. While the sublittoral sediment bore a relative diverse community we extracted one species (Dactylopodola typhle) in high abundances from the sand of Canyelles-Almadrava-Puig-Rom. For the phylogeography study, several specimens of two species (Dactylopodola typhle and Neodasys chaetonotoideus) could be prepared for DNA-extraction and additional specimens were preserved in ethanol. Specimens of further species (Turbanella bocqueti, Thaumastoderma bifurcatum, Paraturbanella pallida, P. teissieri) were prepared to obtain DNA-barcode sequences.
For investigations of the nervous system in Gastrotricha by means of antibody staining and confocal microscopy, numerous specimens of the following species have been fixed in 4% formol, buffered with PBS: Dactylopodola typhle, Urodasys sp., Tetranchyroderma sp., Acanthodasys sp., Pleurodasys helgolandicus, Paraturbanella pallida, Paraturbanella teissieri, Mesodasys sp., Thaumastoderma bifurcatum.
Taking all the fixed/preserved material into account, our visit of the OOB was a very productive stay. The facilities (labs, optics, vessel) and support by the contact persons and staff of OOB was excellent and contributed to the outcome of this stay.