|Seminar and Symposium at KURCPI
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Research Seminar No.210, 17 May 2021
16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor
「Basic Studies about Sea Pens Living from Kyushu to the Ryukyu Islands」
(International Center for Island Studies, Kagoshima University)
Sea pens are marine colonial benthic animals belonging to subclass Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa). They are specialized to live in sandy or muddy bottoms from shallow to deep water, and have roles as ecosystem engineers by providing habitat and shelter to associated marine organisms such as small crustaceans, mollusks and fish. Recently, due to their ecological importance, sea pens have been treated as one of target taxa for protection and conservation in Europe and Canada. However, basic studies on sea pens such as their taxonomy, diversity, phylogeny, evolution and ecology are not very well studied as they are difficult to sample and analyze specimens, and also due to low human interest towards marine organisms in sandy or muddy environments. I have focused on basic research on sea pens in the northwestern Pacific during my Ph.D. studies. As an example of this research, molecular phylogenetic studies suggested that the species numbers of sea pens in the Ryukyu Islands are more than twice what is currently known in this region, and this result demonstrates the need to conduct further diversity studies in sandy and muddy bottom ecosystems. Here, I would like to introduce sea pens and their research, spanning from Kyushu to the Ryukyu Islands.