Monday, July 20, 2015

ChallenGen at the 8​th International Tunicate Meeting (Aomori, Japan, 13­-17 July, 2015)

by Xavier Turon

Ascidians (Halocynthia roretzi) exhibited at the meeting venue... Can you believe that Japanese people eat them and consider them a delicacy?... I tried, between us, it is disgusting for my western taste.
The International Tunicate Meeting was held this year in Japan. I attended it and presented an oral communication about “Utility of the metabarcoding approach for the determination of tunicate in environmental DNA samples” (with Owen, Cruz, Magdalena, and Iosune Uriz).

I was happy to present in the first morning of the meeting, and could thus relax for the rest of the sessions. The meeting was very interesting, particularly the final discussion about the correct names of the species in the complex C​iona intestinalis.​ It seems that the species whose genome we sequenced, whose development has been studied all over the world, one of the best investigated invertebrate species, should be called C​iona robusta! ​I was called in as an expert taxonomist (an endangered species, btw) and had my saying on it, not to the likings of everyone, to be honest. I guess the controversy will continue for some time.

I also took advantage of my trip to sample D​idemnum vexillum​ in its native area. Dr. Gretchen Lambert was kind enough to give me some samples from the South collected during a pre­meeting course. I could collect myself in the Aomori Marine Station thanks to the help of Dr. Gaku Kumano. Overall, it was an enjoyable trip and experience.

Friday, July 17, 2015

New paper published: Corridors for aliens but not for natives: effects of marine urban sprawl at a regional scale

"Marine urban sprawl creates corridors for invasives

It is well established that corridors can, in certain cases, help spread non-native species in terrestrial ecosystems. In a new study by Airoldi et al., the authors expand on this theme with a look at the spread of non-native species at a regional scale. This study compares artificial marine infrastructure (ex. harbors, dikes, piers, breakwaters, etc.) and natural reefs. Their extensive look at 500 kilometers of shoreline in the North Adriatic Sea provides clues as to how marine corridors contribute to the spread of native and non-native species alike."

Read more here.

Paper Reference: Airoldi, L., X. Turon, S. Perkol-Finkel, and M. Rius. 2015. Corridors for aliens but not for natives: effects of marine urban sprawl at a regional scale. Diversity and Distributions 21: 755-768.