Collecting at Moreton Bay

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Moreton Bay, Australia
© R. Bieler
Searching for Bivalves
© G. Giribet
Lab Work

During the first year of the BivAToL project, team members collected specimens in Europe (in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea), the Florida Keys, the Philippines, and off Bermuda, seeking the 280 targeted species. Moreton Bay, Australia, was chosen because at least 20 of the needed specimens live in shallow water near the local marine lab, and because the laboratory’s ship is available for offshore dredging of deeper-water species.

The 2008 Moreton Bay Expedition
In 2008, eight BivAToL scientists and students spent two weeks at the Moreton Bay Research Station off the coast of Brisbane, Australia. During the expedition, participants collected in shallow water by shoveling, sieving, and snorkeling. They also spent four days dredging offshore for deeper water bivalves. And as usual, team members endured long nights in the lab photographing the specimens and preparing them in the four preservatives that are needed for the various analyses.

The Moreton Bay Core Team
The participants for the Moreton Bay Expedition included the three principal investigators, Rüdiger Bieler, Gonzalo Giribet, and Paula Mikkelsen. Emily Glover and John Taylor, from The Natural History Museum (London), provided their previous experience collecting bivalves in the area to identify potential localities. John Healy of the Queensland Museum was the team’s local organizer and lent his considerable familiarity with the Queensland fauna.

Team Members in Training
The training of students is an essential part of any scientific grant, and the project’s participants are excited to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of researchers. For this expedition, Vanessa Gonzalez, a graduate student at Harvard University, and Alejandra Guzmán, a technician in the Giribet molecular laboratory, assisted in collection and preservation activities and received training in the project’s field techniques.

Supporting Team Members
Although all BivAToL participants ultimately benefit from the specimens collected during the expedition, several of them were heavily involved immediately after the team’s return. Janeen Jones (FMNH) who coordinates the “Specimen Central” database at The Field Museum, organized all of the locality data, specimen photos, and the distribution of specimens to other participants. Brian Gollands (PRI), as BivAToL’s web developer and video editor, prepared photo-documentation for the website and for the traveling exhibition Evolution on the Half Shell.