Research on Ophiuroidea (brittle stars and basket stars)
Brittle stars of Iceland
For more than ten years the BIOIce program (Benthic Marine Invertebrates of Iceland) has collected bottom fauna in Icelandic waters. The brittle stars from these collections are being studied at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. The material is rich in juvenile stages and one of the goals of this project is their identification. Juveniles are often morphologically different from their parents and therefore difficult to identify. Phylogenetic analyses often ignore juvenile characters due to these problems. The project will also provide an updated description of the Icelandic brittle star fauna and geographic species distributions. Several new species have been found.
Amphiura chiajei, a brittle star from the Swedish west coast. - Photo Sabine Stöhr
The brittle stars of the South Pacific (New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga)
The marine fauna of the South Pacific is not well known. During the past ten years, French expeditions have collected a large material of invertebrates. For molluscs it has been shown that diversity decreases eastward from Indonesia, via New Caledonia and Fiji to Tonga. This project aims to find out if this is true also for brittle stars. Many new species are included in the material and will be described taxonomically. The project collaborates with the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and T. O'Hara in Melbourne.
Staff working with ophiuroids:
More information about Ophiuroidea:
Gallery of echinoderm images