Achievements for each user project

Oleg Simakov

Oban - we assessed general benthic (in paricular polychaete) and planktonic diversity and took oceanographic measurements around Oban. We could find Platynereis colonies on different substrates (sandy/muddy/algal) and were able to collect spawning animals. RNA of these individuals will be sequenced and will give us linking information between Platynereis populations around the Northern European Atlantic coast (Faro, Kristineberg), and Mediterranean (Ischia). This data will help us investigate speciation/migrations rates and will shed light on adaptation to local environments (large variations in water temperatures, salinity, substrate, and benthic flora/fauna).

Euan Robert Brown

Main achievements
We were able obtain twice live adults of the invasive sea squirt Didemnum vexillum from Ayr Marina with the help f SAMS staff (C Beveridge , support scientist and A Macleod, PhD Student). We were able to hold the adults in an isolated temperature controlled aquarium provided by SAMS for up to 10 days. The adult colonies could be induced to produce swimming larvae under these conditions and we were able to fix samples of both adults and swimming larvae which we are currently analyzing in our laboratory in Naples. An important though negative finding was that we were unable to maintain these animals in the aquarium systems and we were unable to propagate the adult colonies under these conditions.

We will use the samples to produce the first report of the anatomy and microstructure of the colonies and larvae. We The results of our experiments on culture will also be included in this report and indicate that control of spread may be easier than expected considering the difficulty we encountered in propagating the colonies.

Other than thee experimental difficulties mentioned above we would like to compliment the SAMS staff on their wonderful support that made our visit such a success.

Hagar Lis

The FeRed project aimed to assess reduction as a broad spectrum iron (Fe) acquisition strategy in marine phytoplankton. We studied the uptake and reduction of both organically bound and free iron in iron limited and non-limited cells. Over the course of the project, five phytoplankton cultures ( including diatoms, haptophytes, rhodophytes and green algae) as well as natural coastal populations (mostly Pseudo-nitzschia spp) were subjected to sensitive 55Fe uptake and reduction experiments. Initial analysis of the results suggests that reduction plays a role in the uptake of both free Fe and organically bound Fe in natural populations, diatoms, haptophytes and green algae but interestingly not in rhodophytes. In addition, reduction was found to play a role in the Fe uptake of both iron limited and non-limited cultures, suggesting that while this mechanism may undergo upregulation under Fe stress, it is still an integral part of the iron acquisition pathway under Fe rich conditions. One of the most intriguing results was that reduction was only found in cells within exponential growth phase, but not in stationary phase cells (although Fe uptake was observed in both cases). Culture based experiments have yet to be duplicated in order to verify experimental results. We hope this study will pave the way to a better understanding of Fe bioavailability in the marine environment - a question closely associated with carbon biogeochemical cycling in the oceans.

Melanie Zoelck

Samples were sorted from the SAMS archive and otoliths were extracted from 215 fish from Tralee, Galway Bay and the West Coast of Scotland. Otoliths from 40 additional fish had previously been extracted in Galway (from the East Coast of Ireland). The otoliths from Tralee were then mounted and ground for analysis. Due to a delay in the arrival of supplies required, the above process was slightly delayed. After the preparation of otoliths from Tralee was complete, these were checked on the image analysis system at SAMS but it was decided that it would be better to do the increment counting at GMIT, where the image analysis system which will be used for the analysis is located. In order to make the best use of the remaining time, otoliths from the West Coast of Scotland and Galway Bay were extracted, and the ones from the East Coast were mounted, but there was insufficient time to grind them. These otoliths were taken back to Galway and grinding and analysis of the extracted otoliths is ongoing at this time. Results are to be presented at the 12th Flatfish Biology Conference. The visit was a success, providing access to a wide range of samples, opportunities for networking, and insights into new techniques. Samples are being collected from a variety of beaches in 2010 and these will also be made available. The collaboration with Dr Fox is on-going and we are in regular email and telephone contact to discuss aspects of my project.