We finally get an understanding of some of our common ascidians. As well as some of our echinoderms, and learn about molluscs and marine life in Thailand. In the last of the mini-talks at the Southern Expedition.
Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers says so well: "I've learned so much from #megamarine survey! Learned/saw new things & learned more about things I already knew some about! Enriched!"
In her talk "What is an ascidian?" Dr Gretchen Lambert (University of Washington, USA) shared lots of information about these amazing animals. Although they look like blobs, they are quite complicated inside with organs. In fact, they belong to the same Phylum Chordata that includes vertebrates like us! She also confirmed that the cute little mushroom thing that came up with the dredge is an ascidian. Another one was found in a later dredge.
In his talk "Marine mollusc diversity and their problems", Dr Kitihorn Sanpanich (Burapha University, Thailand) shared gorgeous photos of marine life in Thailand. He laments that an Expedition such as ours has not been conducted in Thailand for a long time.
It's been a whirlwind of learning and finding out. From these talks, I'm deeply impressed by the passionate work being in such a wide range of marine life, and how so much has been discovered about them. At the same time, that there is so much more to learn and discover.
Rene Ong has been videotaping the talks and will soon post them online for those who were unable to attend them.