Nordic OIKOS poster sessions

The number of posters was very large and one poster presented by a PhD student won the award as the best poster, selected by the board of Oikos during the conference. This was number 100 with the title: “Ant larvae as a secret weapon against social parasites” by Unni Pulliainen. During the poster session lots of engaged presentations occurred.

1Winning poster Ants

Winner of “Best Poster Award”

1 a Ben presents his poster

Ben presents his poster

There were also a number of marine and aquatic posters, for some the author had the possibility to pitch their poster in 3 minutes.

Tiina Salo, now being on a post-doc, showed in her poster that Lymnea stagnalis responds more strongly to a heat wave after exposure to a mixture of micropollutants. But they recovered fast after the heat wave had passed. To feed the snails she used ecological salad. In the future experiments they will be fed leaves from different aquatic plant species.

2Tiina presents her poster

Tiina (left) pitches her poster

Several posters presented different aspects on the hot topic “ top- down – bottom-up” regulation of different ecosystems and impact of cascading effects and interactions between species. One species that creates lots of emotions is the cormorant, when establishing large populations on small islands along the Baltic coast.

4 aPelagic food-web  poster

Top-down fish poster

5Cormorant poster

Bottom-up cormorant poster

From the Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution two posters were presented, one on the long-term effect of Pilayella on the settlement of Fucus vesiculosus by Susanne Qvarfordt and the other one presented results from a master project on the Swedish west coast about two closely related Littorina snail species behaviour when placing their egg sacs on different fucoid species.

6Pylaiella påverkan på etablering av blåstång

Susanne Qvarfordt show how the effects of Pylaiella can be seen for a long time in the macroalgal community

7Littorina poster

Our poster!

The last poster that I want to present was of high interest dealing with the new crab species, the mud crab, Rhithropanopeus harrisii and its impact on the local fauna. It is just a question when this crab will arrive on the Swedish coast. Keep your eye out for it.
8Mud crab introduced

The conference ended after three intense days.

9Thanks for the conference

 

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Day 3 and 4 of the EMBS at Helgoland

Wednesday at week-long conferences is usually the day with excursions. Today, we started out with some talks in the morning, among them Alexey Sukhotin showing different studies done at the Russian field station Kartesh in the White Sea over the last 50 years. This was very interesting to us, as Lena went there in 1995 and we would like to return and do some experiments on their Fucus vesiculosus populations.
Also, Hartvig Christie held another talk on the Norwegian kelp forests and seagrass beds, this time on how they can survive being both food and habitat. This study clearly shows how fish help maintaining the kelp and seagrass by feeding on the any grazing gastropods and crustaceans that would otherwise prove too much grazing pressure for these ecosystems.

Since the sun was out and the wind was low, we went for a discovery trip up on the oberland, admiring the view of the North Sea horizon and the interesting geology of the island.

The red sandstone of Helgoland

The red sandstone of Helgoland

We took our packed luch by the nesting colony of Northern gannet, Morus bassanus.

Nestng colony of Northern gannet

Nestng colony of Northern gannet

The birds seem not to mind the passing humans

The birds seem not to mind the passing humans

It was rather sad to see how they have used plastic or nylon netting for nesting material. Several young birds have gotten entangled in the nets and died, so the colonies were draped with more or less mummified birds hanging from the rock.

Plastic as nesting material comes with a prize

Plastic as nesting material comes with a prize

Lange Anna, a monument to erosin by wind and waves.

Lange Anna, a monument to erosin by wind and waves.

After some mandatory selfies at Long Anna at the tip of the island, we walked back towards unterland, passing the local allotment area. Gardening here is very affected by the wind, but lots of dense hedges seems to do the trick.

The allotment gardeners have plenty of sun, rain and seaweed as fertilizer. Using hedges to screen out the wind makes for bumper crops.

The allotment gardeners have plenty of sun, rain and seaweed as fertilizer. Using hedges to screen out the wind makes for bumper crops.

In the afternoon, we took the boat over to Düne to look at the seals and browse the shores there for interesting finds. There are so many beautiful speciments of Laminaria hyperborea kelp here, and I would like to bring all of them home. Best not, I think. A kelp forest in a small appartment might not be such a good idea.

The beuty of kelp, even when washed on to the beach.

The beuty of kelp, even when washed on to the beach.

Typical dune landscape, with few but tough species

Typical dune landscape, with few but tough species

After enjoying the dune-landscape with its typical flora and falcons, we strolled to the southern beach, where the conference dinner and Yellow Submarine competition would be held. The Yellow Submarine has been running since 1968 and although its all in good fun, it is still a prestigeous prize to win.

The Swedish team compeating for the Yellow Submarine. Nils, Lena, Ellen and Angela.

The Swedish team compeating for the Yellow Submarine.
Nils, Lena, Ellen and Angela.

This year, we entered a strong team for Sweden, with no less than 3 professors and one fresh-from-the-oven doctor. Lena and Nils kautsky, Angela Wulff and yours truly worked hard, spinning around bottles, answering questions while building sand castles and collecting water (huge effort by aquatic gazelle Angela).

All the teams did very well and the winner will be announced later in the week. The evening ended pleasantly late after drinks and high spirits amongs all.

Lots of exciting findings washed onto the beach by the storm Svea

1.SVEA TILL FACKBOOK FPROLIGBILD+
The wind was strong at Saltö, a small island on the Swedish west-coast close to the marine research station Tjärnö on January 2 when the first storm called Svea hit the shores and some of the finds were really exciting. From earlier in the year, we found a seal skeleton and a bird´s wing high up on the beach.
2 SÄLSKELETT
3 FÅGELVINGE
That it is a seal skeleton can be recognized by that the pelvis is low and sits far back. The head was not there anymore. There was not much left of the bird except for one of the wings.
4 många backar
Further down was a broad zone with materials washed ashore. It included lots of plastic containers in different colours, a large shovel and various species of seaweed.

5 KNöltång o spade
6 knöltång betad o ostron
Green shovel with fouling and large knotted wrack, Ascophyllum nodosum, with giant sized receptacles on the way to develop and get mature. Another sign beyond morphology of the knotted wrack, that much of the material comes from countries other than the Swedish coast, was the long rope-like receptacles of Himentalia elongata. Both males and female thalli were found among the seaweed wrack.

6 a Remtång
The picture shows the pits on the female receptacle from which oogonia and eggs are released when ripe. On the lower male receptacle the orange spots are millions of sperms released from the conceptacle. The thalli may come from the Norwegian coast which is the closest areas where this species occurs.

7 blå hink
10 havsborstmask
I also found a blue bucket, with a some green algae on the outside and many white polychaete tubes belong to the species, Pomatoceros triqueter on the inside. Upon closer scrutiny of the inside I also found two other polychaete tubes, which was lined with small pieces of shell and sand grains. Those I have not been able to determine what species it is.

8Trollhummer o havstulpan
9 sjöborre
The blue bucket comes right from the English Channel, which is revealed by the tiny little pink coloured barnacles. The nearest locations of this species Balanus perforates, is just there and it is also found in the Mediterranean Sea. Together with them and a small squat lobster, Munida and a small sea urchin, they have made a long journey at sea before being washed ashore on one of the beaches in Saltö, near Tjärnö where a marine biological research station is located.

12Rotsystem binder sanden
The small beach beside the pier had a lot of sand washed away. It is fortunate that the root system of plants can help to retain a portion of the sand so that it does not completely disappear.

13handske höger
14handske vänster
A few days earlier, it was quite cold and everything was covered with hoarfrost.
I find it strange that you only find a rubber glove and not two. So that day I found this the right glove on the beach. After the storm Svea I found the left glove on another beach, so now I have a pair.
15 solnedgång vid piren
Last night before we go home to Stockholm. A beautiful sunset at the pier at Svallhagen. All the best for the new year and hope of many new exciting discoveries and findings in 2015.

Trip to Vietnam – looking for seaweeds

When we landed in Hanoi we started with a meeting at MCD, Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development, (more information to be found at http://www.mcdvietnam), where we got coffee and we had a first planning of the work for the following week.
välkomstmöte på MCD

MCD has been a partner to Stockholm University and the Department of Ecology, Environmental and Plant Science in Vietnam for many years. It is mainly women working at MCD and everything is very well-planned and efficient. During our visit we had the opportunity to meet with the local government in Phu Long and get information about the planning of aquaculture in the region for the future. Two master students will together with the help from MCD perform interview with local shrimp and fish farmers as well as trying to find out the use of trash fish in aquacultures, with the aim of proposing development improving the environmental conditions and integrated aquaculture.
Karta PHU Long areaMap of Phu Long

The next day we went to Cat Ba, to study different types of aquaculture activities, ranging from high to low intensity shrimp farming in mangrove plantations, where both fish mainly Tilapia are cultivated in combination with crabs and shrimps.
skylt vid odlingen

In the intensive shrimp cultivation 2-3 harvests are produced per year. This type of aquaculture takes up a much smaller area but has a strong impact on the environment while the extensive aquaculture takes up a 10 times larger area and has a less negative impact on the surrounding area and a lower but more diverse production.

hus på damm kantenThe family lives in the small house located on the edge of the pond.

Much of the island is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the mangrove is 4000 ha protected. Between 1990- 2000, when aquaculture around the island peaked, 50 hectares of mangroves where cut down. The plan now is to replant mangroves and increasing area and cover.

Rhizophora
Mangrove plantering
Rhizophora utmed damm kant

The mangrove species planted are mainly Rhizophora and Avicennia. They are planted along both sides of the dam. The smallest plants are brand new and the largest over 2 meters in height are about 8 years old.

karta Lan Ha Bay

The second part of our trip was to visit Lan Ha Bay. The area is heavily influenced locally from farms, by untreated sewage from communities around the coast, from harbor construction and from runoff from the Red River, which transports large amounts of sediment, organic matter and nutrients. At the first farm we visited they were feeding the cultivated fish with thrash fish.

skräpfisk försäljning

skräpfisklådor till försäljning

Pictures of the on-going sale of trash fish and loading into boxes to be transported to neighbouring fish farms. At one of the fish farms you could stay and have a lunch with really fresh sea-food.

krabbor röda godaDelicious red crabs

Cultivation of seaweeds seems to be limited in Vietnam. On the road from Phu Long to Cat Ba I suddenly saw some red algae put out to dry along the small road. The algae had been collected form an adjacent pond where they grow naturally. They will get about 1 dollar for 10 kilos or one sac of dried algae (about 70000VDN). It may not be much money, but can still be a contribution to the salary which is around 200 -300 dollar/month.

samla torkade rödalger
rödalgskördRed algae harvest
The picture shows women who rakes up dried red algae and put them in sacks so that they can be transported and soled. My first guess on the species was Gracillaria, which I was able to confirm when I found some plants that were not dry.

Gracilaria spp.

Picture of Gracillaria spp. from the harvest of dried seaweeds photographed on a small plate at the hotel, since I had forgotten to pack paper for pressing seaweed!

During the visit to the fish farms, while the others were talking to the owner and investigated which fish were cultivated in the various cages and what they were fed, I lay on my knees and looked after what was growing on the edges of the cages and on the nets.
CladophoraCladophora
UlvaUlva

Here are some pictures of the findings! One Cladophora spp., one Ulva spp., looks just like our species on the west coast Ulva lactuca, one Bryopsis spp. and one Polysiphonia spp. The last two species were too small, so I was not able to take any photos.The algae were found only in the innermost fish farms, close to the coast and only down to about 0.5 m depth. Probably because the light conditions in water are so poor that the light is not enough for algal growth. Other species found on the cages were mainly different filter feeders, like sponges and hydroids.

Hydroid med symbiontisk rödalg

Beautiful red-coloured and finely branched hydroid, looking a bit like Dynamena or Abitenaria. The colour red is produced from a symbiontisk red algae that live inside the animal wall.

Svampdjur och ostron

Krabba i svampdjur

Those who had the most beautiful colours were different species of sponges, in colours of maroon, red or clear blue. In one of them was a small crab, who had found good protection inside the sponge. It has been a new experience and I have learned a lot of new things about Vietnam and would very much like to come back and learn more.

solnedgång Cat BaSunset over the bay – view from our hotel.

I will remember the travel to Vietnam for a long time during the dark winter months in Sweden and going to the Askö Laboratory studying the Baltic Fucus.

New publication comparing Fucus radicans and Fucus vesiculosus in Swedan and Estonia

A new scientific publication has just come out in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science by Ellen Schagerström, Helena Forslund, Lena Kautsky, Merli Pernoja and Jonne Kotta.

The article compared the thallus complexity and quantified the abundance and biomass of epiphytic algae and invertebrate taxa of the two fucoid species Fucus radicans and Fucus vesiculosus from sympatric sites in the Bothnian Sea on the Swedish coast and around the Estonian island Saaremaa.

Fucus radicans had a more complex thallus structure than Fucus vesiculosus within the whole study range, but both species were more complex in the Bothnian Sea compared to Estonia. The complexity of host algae did not contribute to their associated flora and fauna taxon richness; instead, the size of thalli was a good proxy for associated communities.

You can read the article HERE for free until November 8th, courtsey of Elsevier Ltd.

Fucus radicans (left) is more complex or "bushy" than Fucus vesiculosus (right)

Fucus radicans (left) is more complex or “bushy” than Fucus vesiculosus (right)

The wrack wall and how storms can tear seaweed from their rocks.

In the last posts, Lena has been reporting on all the interesting finds you can make on the beach after a storm. However, these haven’t been all that much about the different species of seaweed that gets washed ashore during strong winds. So, here is a small exposé of what she found after the storm Sven (Bodil in Denmark, Xaver in Germany).

In some bays on the west coast at Tjärnö, seaweed forms large beach walls whereas in other bays you will only find a few specimens of what is growing just a couple of meters off shore. Seaweed can also come entangled in ropes and lines from far away.
Image

A photo from a bay filled with seaweed forming thick carpets. Later in the year, in the summertime, they will have been decomposed and form a beach wall covered in lush green plants. Seaweed and algae make excellent compost due and was formerly gathered to fertilize the potato patches. If you find a bay full of seaweed you can collect some and put in your garden.
Image

On other shores, like in this photo, there is only some seaweed and the red alga Furcellaria lumbricalis in a band just by the water. This is the popular sandy beach at Saltö.
Higher up on the shore some distance away, i found a pile of rope and entangled algae. On closer examination, it turned out to be seaweed from quite some distance, maybe as far away as England.

Image
How can you tell that the seaweed is from far away and not just from next bay or further down the coast? If you look closely at the photo underneath, you’ll see some long, brown slightly knobbly bands, which are the reproductive organs (receptacles) of Himentalia elongata, which has never been found attached in Swedish waters. The nearest site is in Norway. In the pile there is also very large bladders of Ascophyllum nodosum and a form of bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)with several bladders that is much more common in areas of higher salinity that at the Swedish coast.
Image
Those of you who look closely on the photograph will notice a red algae on the bottom right, like small, finely branched bushes attached to the Ascophyllum nodosum. This is one of many Polysiphonia species, and this particular species is commonly found growing on Ascophyllum nodosum and it is called Polysiphonia lanosa.
The wrack wall consists, as one might guess, mostly of wracks that have been washed ashore, both bladderwrack and serrated wrack (Fucus serratus). The smaller specimens were still attached to blue mussels (Mytilus edulis)and others had not attached hard enough to rock or boulder and had come loose.

Different sizes of wrack washed ashore, with accessories.

Different sizes of wrack washed ashore, with accessories.

Slightly larger specimens were washed ashore still attached to pebbles. A larger plant of seaweed is very firmly attached to the rock surface and you can lift the rock by holding the seaweed sometimes. It’s not until the wracks get really big that the pull of the wave manages to tear them loose from the rock or boulder to which they are attached. But, if you look closely on the bottom of the holdfast, there is a white calcareous layer. The wrack that has come loose with holdfast has once settled as a small germling on a crustose calcareous algae or a barnacle. So what has actually come loose by the wave force is not the seaweed holdfast, but the barnacle or calcareous alga that can no longer hold on to the rock surface.

sågtångsfäste

The photo shows a holdfast from a Fucus serratus with clearly visible white parts of a calcareous crustose alga.
nyårsskål för alger
And finally – a somewhat late toast for the new year and wishing you all a happy 2014 from the BalticSeaWeed blog.

Barnacles, bryozoans, seaweed and patterns

There are still some things to blog from earlier this fall. In August there was a seminar in the ”Sustainable Sea” -series, a co-operation between Briggen Tre Kronor and Stockholm University. The exhibit “The Baltic Sea- who cares ?” was also shown. There was displayed pictures from Hanna Henriksson’s exam project at Beckmans Design School, where she used wonderful patterns from the Baltic Sea, with barnacles, bryozoans and bladderwrack. Who would have thought that bryozoan colonies can be as lovely as the finest lace!

Image

Thus inspired, Lena made a kaftan that she wore on the 27th September when she was awarded a gold medal by the University, as we have previously mentioned .

Image

“It felt wonderful and very appropriate to walk up the stairs in City Hall and receive this honorary award from the Vice-Chancellor, wearing a dress with a pattern from a photographed settling-plate.” Lena said.
This particular plate was hanging at the Askö laboratory, and used for research on the settling time of barnacle larvae on boat hulls, some years ago. The results from this project and what each of us can do instead of painting our boats with toxic paint can be found at The Archipelago Foundation.

If you want to monitor when the barnacles of 2014 arrive at your own jetty or pier? Get a settling plate and hang it from the jetty. From The Archipelago Foundation, you can also find out what you can do once you see that they have settled and reached about 1 cm in size.
If they are on a small boat, you can just brush them off, or take your boat to a boat-cleaning station. You can also take your boat up a river or ia nearby freshwater area. This will kill the barnacles, who will eventually fall off.

Image