Friday, September 30, 2016

DNA barcoding the phyllosoma of Scyllarides squammosus: New paper out!

by Ferran Palero

A new paper from the ChallenGen team entitled “DNA barcoding the phyllosoma of Scyllarides squammosus (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) (Decapoda: Achelata: Scyllaridae)” has been recently published in the JCR journal Zootaxa.

As shown by their fierce-looking mouthparts, phyllosoma larvae rank high on the planktonic food-chain as specialized predators. Luckily for us, they generally do not grow above a few centimeters in total length!
Despite being the slipper lobster genera with the largest number of species with commercial importance, little is known of the unique long-lived planktonic phyllosoma stages of Scyllarides. Recently, a large and diverse collection of Scyllaridae phyllosoma from the Coral Sea was analysed by members of our team. DNA-barcoding and phylogenetic analyses allowed Ferran Palero and colleagues to identify several S. squammosus phyllosoma larvae, including stages that were previously undescribed or poorly known. From a combination of adult and larval morphology with molecular data, we could reveal inconsistencies with regard to the affinities among species assigned to Scyllarides. This new evidence will contribute to future studies addressing the phylogenetic relationships within the genus.

Furthermore, this new paper represents the first contribution of Rebeca Genis-Armero, a MSc. student recently graduated from the University of Valencia and a name to keep in mind for the future of scientific drawing and phyllosoma larvae.

Monday, September 26, 2016

ChallenGen at the SIEBM 2016 in Porto

by Marta Campos

From the 5th to 9th September, several ChallenGen members attended the XIX Iberian Symposium on Marine Biology Studies (SIEBM) in Porto, Portugal, which this year was hosted by the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR). Throughout the week, scientific posters and oral communications were presented and we could learn about biodiversity, conservation, ecology, invasive species and oceanography. Moreover, eight invited speakers, from different parts of Europe, explained current research on hot topics and forecasted future directions in marine biology research. One of these speakers was Xavier Turon, who presented a talk about the use of genetic tools in marine biology in the Iberian context. His talk included some of the newest results attained in the ChallenGen Project.

Aside from this plenary lecture, 8 oral communications and 3 posters were presented with ChallenGen results, so the project had a very relevant presence in this meeting.

We also participated in several social events and cultural activities. In addition, we could enjoy the opportunity to know the wonderful city of Porto and its famous wine. We also had plenty of opportunities to eat codfish, which is cooked in apparently endless ways!

We hope to meet again in the next SIEBM which will take place in two years in Algarve!

The eight members of the ChallenGen Project who attended the SIEBM 2016, at the new CIIMAR building.