Torsten H. Struck

Frontiers in Evolutionary Zoology

Another aspect of our research addresses the dispersal potential and, hence, rate of speciation in different  invertebrate such as annelids, crustaceans, tunicates and insects.  This will also to gain a better insight into the  evolution of these species and how they will react to future challenges such as climate change or the biodiversity crisis.

Fortunately, we were granted an RCN ArtsDatabanken project "Assessing biodiversity in the marine algae belt" to investigate the distribution of species occuring in different marine habitats of the marine algae belt (see to right of the habitats and groups).

The marine algae belt comprising kelp forests, seagrass meadows and rocky reefs with coralline red seaweeds is one of the most active primary producing environments in the sea. It also harbors are great diversity of animals including sea squirts, ribbon worms, nick worms, serpulid worms, spionid worms and ghost shrimps. The species of these groups occupy important ecological functions as herbivores, predators and filter-feeding organisms and can be sessile or agile as well as solitary or colonial. Globally these taxa comprise more than 7,000 species with around 250 species documented from Norwegian waters. Despite this the knowledge about their taxonomy and distribution in Norway is at best poor and in dire need of improvement. Specimens in museum collections are often quite old material, which additionally is often wrongly determined due to unresolved taxonomic issues including the high degree of cryptic species in these groups. Besides cryptic species, many of these taxa include invasive species causing among others high economic damage in aquaculture and ship transportation due to biofouling.

This is why we urgently need to conduct a field inventory and collect species of these taxa in Norway (from the Skagerrak up to 70°N, see below to the right). The project includes also colleagues from Sweden and Germany. With morphological and molecular methods, we will determine the species and learn more about their distribution (including reports from history and now) and their association with Norwegian nature types. Therefore, we also want to revise the existing museum collections in Norway. Through the planned project, we will contribute to basic biosystematics and species distribution research in general, and more specifically and importantly to red lists or other nature conservation management actions (e.g. updated information on distributions of invasive and native species including cryptic ones and their preferred habitats).

In other ongoing projects I am involved as Co-PI on different insects and polychaetes as well as polychaetes occuring at methane seeps. For the latter see species below.

Other ongoing and previous projects as Co-PI:

  1. Biodiversity Research Consortium Brazil‐Norway “Metabarcoding and metagenomics for high throughput inventory and monitoring of terrestrial arthropod biodiversity”
  2. DIKU - NORPART 2018 “ANTENNA: Norwegian – African network for training a new generation of entomologists in DNA-based molecular methods”
  3. SIU - Russia 2017-2020 “Multidisciplinary EDUcation and reSearch in mArine biology in Norway and Russia (MEDUSA)”
  4. NSF-OCE-0425060 “Metazoan life at extreme sulphide concentrations: The ecology and evolution of Dorvilleidae at methane seeps.”

    Members ofArts Databanken projects:

    Sonja Leidenberge (University of Skoevde)

    Matz Bergren (University of Gothenburg)

    Thomas Stach (Humboldt University Berlin)

    Joern von Doehren (University of Bonn)

    Get in Touch

    Frontiers in Evolutionary Zoology

    Natural History Museum

    University of Oslo

    Address: Sars gate 1, 0562 Oslo, Norway


    Phone: +47-228-51740

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