Systematics, Biogeography and Diversity
Topic: Molecular Barcodes for Identification of Nemerteans - A Piece of Cake or just one Piece of the Puzzle?
Information on Speakers:
Dr. Joern von Doehren (Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, University of Bonn):
Nemertea (ribbon worms) is a vermiform spiralian taxon comprising about 1300 species. The majority of species are nocturnal predators in marine habitats. The scientific work of Jörn von Döhren focuses on the Systematics and Evolution of Nemertea on different levels, from the phylogenetic position of Nemertea within Metazoa through ingroup systematics down to nemertean species diversity. To address these topics, he combines embryological, developmental, ultrastructural and molecular methods. Nemertea are considered as taxonomically challenging due to the poverty of external specific characters. Therefore, species identification has traditionally relied on anatomical examination to discover species specific internal characters. With the introduction of molecular methods, COI-barcoding has become the most prominent tool for identification and delimitation of nemertean species, sometimes at the expense of morphological data. In an attempt to rescue the traditional knowledge on species diversity, Jörn von Döhren combines morphological with molecular methods and analyzes them together with ecological data to establish an integrated biodiversity research framework. As a long-term objective, the data acquired in this framework will allow for comparison of present with past distribution of species and thus permit evaluation of the impact of global change on Nemertea. Together with collaborators, Jörn von Döhren recently resolved the Lineus ruber/viridis species-complex, one of the longest-standing mysteries of nemertean taxonomy, described species new to science, and studied aspects of the biogeography of nemertean species. In his talk, Jörn von Döhren will give an overview about current biodiversity research in Nemertea and address the challenges and benefits of combining molecular and morphological data sets (Section: Systematics, Biogeography and Diversity).