Activities and methods

Field work: Trondheimsfjord

Trondheim, monthly spring-winter 2017

Trondheimsfjord is Norway's third-longest fjord; 130 kilometers long and it is located in the west-central part of the country. Trondheimsfjord has become known from a deep sea jellyfish, Periphylla periphylla (Scyphozoa, Coronatae), where it has multiplied rapidly to a large population and to some degree out-competed its ecosystem rivals. The great surrounding area of Trondhjems Biological Station allows GooseAlien to sample together with NTNU PhD student Katharina Bading bi-weekly throughout the spring, summer and winter 2017 for the ctenophore and microzooplankton population within the fjord and their seasonal dynamics.

Ctenophore and microzooplankton sampling outside of Trondhjems Biological Station. Photo: Sanna Majaneva


Field work: Bergen

Bergen, monthly 2016-2017

GooseAlien has been lucky to be able to join another Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre funded project, Hydrozoan pelagic diversity in Norway (HYPNO) (PI Aino Hosia), on a regular (monthly) one day sampling trips in the vicinity of Bergen onboard R/V Hans Brattström. During these sampling trips several species of ctenophores have been collected, including Pleurobrachia pileus andEuplokamis sp. Most interestingly, an unidentified cydippid ctenophore has been spotted frequently.

Unidentified cydippid ctenophore. Photo: Aino Hosia.


Field work: Svalbard

Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard 16th – 26th January 2017

During the darkest time of the polar night, GooseAlien joined Underwater Robotics and Polar Night Biology course held by the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. During the course, the students had unique opportunity to gain insight into the ecology of main Arctic marine organismal groups with special emphasis on hands-on use of enabling technology as well as sensor techniques important for understanding the Arctic ecosystem. Currently, our knowledge on ctenophore diversity and ecology in the high Arctic is very limited, especially during the marine night. During our stay in Ny-Ålesund, GooseAlien focused on collecting ctenophores, and other gelatinous zooplankton taxa, for morphological and molecular species identification. Ctenophores are also able to produce light—an ability known as bioluminescence and it has been speculated whether that bioluminescence flash kinetic characteristics could have a strong potential to present both taxon-specific and community characteristics signals which could be used for in situ taxa recognition of zooplankton. In Ny-Ålesund, the sampled gelatinous zooplankton specimens were immediately examined in laboratory-controlled conditions in aquarium usingbathyphotometer; equipment specially designed to measure mechanically stimulated bioluminescence in aquatic systems.

The helmet jellyfish (Periphylla periphylla) observed in Kongsfjord for the first time during marine night.  Photo: Sanna Majaneva

Video by Eric Jordà

An article in Svalbardposten (in Norwegian) on the Periphylla discovery can be found here.

Field work: Svalbard

Svalbard 9th – 19th of July

Greetings from Svalbard! In July, the GooseAlien joined Blue mussel on Svalbard project from UiT - The arctic university of Norway on a 10-day cruise in Svalbard. The primary aim of this cruise was to extend our knowledge about the recently discovered blue mussel population on Svalbard. This tempo-boreal bivalve is a well-known climate indicator thriving during times of elevated sea surface temperatures. However, the origin of the ‘Svalbard blue mussel’ is currently unknown and could either be result of an invasion after absence or a relict species that lived undiscovered through decades of modern biological surveys. Thus, a scientific diving survey along the west coast of Svalbard, from Isfjorden to Sørkappøya, was performed, focusing on exposed hard bottom areas where blue mussels would likely occur. This gave GooseAlien and HYPNO great opportunity to sample an area where Atlantic and Arctic water masses meet, and to collect Mertensia ovum specimens for population genetic study. Mertensia ovum is endemic to the Arctic, but its status as an ice age relict in the Baltic Sea remains open.

Diver getting ready to enter the water.  Photo: Sanna Majaneva


Field work: Sognefjord

Sognefjord, Norway 21st – 22nd of June

GooseAlien joined JELLYFARM - Combined effects of multiple organic stressors from jellyfish blooms and aquaculture operations on seafloor ecosystems project in their field work in Sognefjord, Norway.  JELLYFARM project focuses on the effects of organic inputs from Jellyfalls and fishfarms individually and in combination, in both southern and northern Norwegian fjords using modern technology to quantify the inputs and the consumption of organic matter at the sea floor. The Sognefjorden is the largest and best known fjord in Norway stretching 205 kilometres (127 mi) inland from the ocean. Sognefjorden is especially fascinating as it is more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) deep for about 100 km of its length. Together with HYPNO project, we took several plankton net tows from 1000m to surface to look at the gelatinous zooplankton community composition.

Pleurobrachia pileus from Sognefjord. Photo: Sanna Majaneva


5th International Jellyfish Bloom Symposium

Barcelona, Spain 30th of May – 3rd of June 2016

The International Jellyfish Bloom Symposium is the world’s largest meeting of scientists studying jellyfish and other gelatinous species. GooseAlien members participated with Sanna’s poster presentation titled: Ctenophores – native aliens in Norwegian waters, Aino’s talk about the challenges, suggestions and potential gain of including gelatinous zooplankton in plankton surveys and co-authoring Claudia Halsband’s talk with a title: Jellyfish summer abundance, diversity and impact on fish farms in a Nordic fjord. Claudia’s talk presented the results of Akvaplan-niva’s pilot project where gelatinous zooplankton community was studied in a fjord where gelatinous organisms have caused severe economic losses for the local aquaculture company. All in all, the symposium proved to be excellent opportunities for GooseAlien to communicate with the peers and to gain more knowledge on the most up-to-date science being conducted in the world of gelatinous zooplankton.

Poster by Sanna Majaneva. Download as PDF.



ICES/PICES 6th Zooplankton production symposium

9-13 May 2016, Bergen, Norway

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Zooplankton play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems as well as in global biogeochemical cycles. In response to the need to understand zooplankton dynamics, their sensitivity to change, and the resulting effects on ecosystems, ICES and PICES held the 6th International Zooplankton Production Symposium as a forum to discuss zooplankton and their role in the global ecosystem. GooseAlien participated the symposium by two oral presentations: Sanna gave a talk titled: Ctenophores – peeking into the group of unidentified species, demonstrating the benefits of combining morphological and molecular tools to reveal underestimated ctenophore species richness and Aino showed what are the  challenges, suggestions and potential gain of including gelatinous zooplankton in plankton surveys.


Ctenopalooza: the first international meeting of ctenophorologists

Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, FL, USA, on March 14–15, 2016

New ideas about the phylogenetic position of ctenophores, implications the phylogenetic position on the evolution of animal cell types, improved protocols for molecular testing and new knowledge about their ecology and invasive biology have led to a growing interest of ctenophores. To celebrate this growing interest, 75 researchers representing 12 countries met in Florida to discuss ctenophorology in the first formal international meeting dedicated to ctenophore biology. The sessions included fascinating talks ranging from evolutionary genomics and development trough ecology and behavior to fossil records and diversity. For GooseAlien, especially relevant and important talks were by Laurence Madin from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on a history of our understanding of ctenophore diversity, Steven Haddock from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research on the phylogenetic relationships of ctenophore lineages and a taxonomic key that his laboratory is developing for ctenophores,  Claudia Mills from the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs on about a recently discovered deep-sea ctenophore from the northeast Pacific Ocean and Otto Oliveira from the Universidade Federal do ABC in Brazil on an outline of classification challenges in Ctenophora . GooseAlien gave a poster presentation with a 2 minute-lightning talk and won a price on the category on best lightning talk. The overall conclusion of the meeting was that the future of ctenophorology is bright as the meeting led to ideas on important topics for future research centering around the remarkable biology of these animals.


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