Workshop Nematodes SummaryWorkshop Nematodes Summary

From the 8th to the 12th of January 2007 a CEDAMAR workshop was organized on the taxonomy and identification of deep-sea nematodes (see Program here). Nematodes are among the most abundant and most diverse metazoan taxa in soft deep-sea sediments. Their identification and taxonomy often raise problems because of their high diversity, the overlapping genus diagnostics, their small size and the low number of adults present in a sample. All these problems may explain the high interest for this workshop. Furthermore the Marine Biology research group has recently developed an electronic taxonomic database providing a nearly complete collection of genus and species descriptions. This workshop offered an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the toolkits of this database (Nemys.ugent.be) including an identification key which is under development.

In total 16 people registered from 9 countries. The background of the participants differed from very advanced to no knowledge on free-living marine nematode taxonomy. All participants were involved or just started with nematode research and most brought their own samples from different areas in the world.

Since the marine biology research group has a long standing tradition in nematode taxonomy from shallow water to the deep-sea, many nematode experts contributed to the workshop including Magda Vincx, Maaike Steyaert, Jan Vanaverbeke, Saskia Van Gaever, Eveline Hoste, Jeroen Ingels en Tania Bezerra. It was also one of the few times that so many marine nematologists were sitting together in order to discus particular bottle necks in identification of deep-sea nematodes. At the end of the meeting an electronic private work bench was created on the Nemys site in order to exchange information within this group when back home.

The workshop was organised in such a way that morning sessions started with a lecture or demonstration, while the second half of the morning and the afternoons were devoted to individual, microscopical work.  Lectures included topics such as General nematode morphology, Identification of deep-sea nematodes, The use of Nemys tool kits, Genera identification, Microscopic slide preparation, Major trends in deep-sea nematode ecology, and Taxonomic descriptions of new species. At the end of the meeting particular interesting or remarkable specimens identified by the different participants were discussed in group by projection of the slides.

Inevitably  some time was spend in order to visit the historical city of Ghent. A local guide offered a unique view on some old buildings and places . Experiences were further exchanged during the dinner taken at different locations in Ghent in between the different historical visits.

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