Tvärminne Wormsearch August 2008.

Alex. Luther in 1927A trinational field excursion, or wormsearch, is presently happening, based in Tvärminne Zoological Station (also known as Tvärminnen eläintieteellinen asema), a former Turbellarian hotspot, when Alexander Luther was its director (1919-1954 35 years!). He produced some of the most astonishing drawings of Macrostomum species (see for instance his 1905 paper in honour of Palmén, who founded the station where we presently amaze ourselves with tiny creatures). He also described numerous species and attracted and taught several renown turbellariologists.

This wormsearch's was organized by Lukas Schärer (CH), and we finally have an expert for "The Rest" of cute worms we always find and admire namelessly (i.e. the Rhabdocoela), Tom Artois (BE). The rest of the crew consists of Bart Tessens (BE), Gregor Schulte (DE), Micha Eichmann (CH) and myself.

The infrastructure is very nice, we're using a lecture hall -with a sink in a cupboard (?!)- where we arranged tables in a way suitable for use with binoculars and microscopes, computers and cameras, ready-to-use field equipment and waiting-to-be-washed samples. We sleep some three hundred meters away from the "lab", in a house besides the forest. Everything is quite modern, and slightly exotic (and not only because of the language: things are different in Finland). The station also provides meals, in the same building where the lab is. Breakfast between 8 and 9 (for those who need more than a coffee at 9...), lunch at 12 (a bell rings, a couple of minutes after our stomachs start secreting juices). "Dinner" is at 16:30 so we skip it and cook ourselves in the evening.

Sunny sampling

On sunny (or at least dry) days we collect samples, it takes several rainy days to go through them.  Some are teeming with flatworms

Fresh and marine habitats intermingle continuously, for instance in the rocky islands where often several rain-water pools can be found, more or less influenced by the spray of waves. Of course, the marine habitat is only 8 per mil. Some claim that if water to make pasta would taste like that, one would be tempted to add more salt.

Soon and update on what's going on...

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