Training Workshop on Morphology and Systematics of Copepods

University of Limpopo, South Africa (31 May 2021– 04 June 2021)

Venue

The course will take place during 31 May – 04 June 2021 at the University of Limpopo (UL) in Mankweng, South Africa, where adequate facilities will be made available for both theoretical and laboratory sessions. UL has previously served as the venue for the highly successful 2nd International Workshop on Symbiotic Copepoda in 2013. UL is situated about 36 km east of Polokwane, the capital of the Limpopo Province. Polokwane has an airport with daily flights from O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. For those who wish to drive directly to the UL, please take the R71 (Tzaneen Road) from Polokwane Central to UL. Polokwane is located a 10-minute drive from the Polokwane Game Reserve. Various nature and wildlife viewing opportunites can easily be accessed from the city.

If you require a formal, personalized letter of invitation to facilitate your visa application, please contact Prof. Susan M. Dippenaar (susan.dippenaar@ul.ac.za). Please include your full name and mailing address and a letter in PDF format will be emailed to you.

Objectives

The objective of the course is to provide postgraduate students/postdoctoral fellows with a comprehensive and state-of-the-art introduction to the diversity, morphology, systematics and biology of benthic, planktonic and symbiotic copepods, including training in technical skills. The course will cover marine, brackish and freshwater forms as well as their interactions with crustacean parasites..

Tutors

The course will be taught in English by an international team of tutors. Each tutor is an internationally renowned specialist in a different area of copepod systematics and biology. The team will consist of the following tutors:

Dr. Ruth Böttger-Schnack (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany – rboettgerschnack@geomar.de) [non-calanoid planktonic copepods]

Dr. Samuel Gómez (Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología – Unidad Académica Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico – samuelgomez@ola.icmyl.unam.mx) [marine and brackish water harpacticoids]

Professor Rony Huys (Natural History Museum, London, U.K. – r.huys@nhm.ac.uk) [course organizer, introduction to morphology; life cycles; copepods associated with invertebrate hosts]

Dr. Nancy F. Mercado-Salas (DZMB, Wilhelmshaven, Germany – nancy.mercado@senckenberg.de) [freshwater copepods]

Professor Susumu Ohtsuka (Takehara Marine Science Station, Hiroshima University, Japan – ohtsuka@hiroshima-u.ac.jp) [marine calanoids]

Dr. Alexandra S. Savchenko (Moscow State University, Russian Federation – as.savchenko1@gmail.com) [crustacean parasites utilizing copepods as hosts]

Dr. Danny Tang (Orange County Sanitation District, Fountain Valley, CA, U.S.A. –  dtang@ocsd.com) [fish parasites]

Professor Susan M. Dippenaar (University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa – (susan.dippenaar@ul.ac.za ) [local host]

Course Structure

The course will last five days and will comprise a combination of lectures, laboratory-based practical sessions and informal, problem-solving discussions. Every tutor will be in attendance for all of them. Flexibility will be maintained to encourage the development of an intense group dynamic through interactions between highly motivated young researchers and established workers. Students will be asked to bring material with them that is of special interest or significance in their own work – particularly their problem species. A typical course day will consist of two 1–1.5-hour lectures alternated with practical sessions.

Course Content

 1) Introduction to Copepod Morphology, Ordinal Classification and Phylogeny (Tutor: Rony Huys)

This session will provide a brief overview of copepod morphology and diversity and introduce participants to the impressive range of body forms and limb types across the Copepoda. Trainees will be introduced to the standardized terminology used in the description and identification of free-living and symbiotic copepods. An overview of the basic functional morphology of the reproductive, locomotory and feeding systems will be presented, and the importance of the various sensory structures encountered in copepods will be discussed. Finally, a brief synopsis of the current ordinal classification system will be presented, including some recent developments in our phylogenetic understanding of the group.

 2) Taxonomic Techniques for the Study of Copepods (Tutor: Rony Huys with assistance from other tutors)

This lecture aims at students becoming familiar with the basic methods used in taxonomic studies of copepods. The presentation will demonstrate how to produce adequate equipment to manipulate and dissect copepods and how to prepare temporary and semi-permanent slides, focusing especially on the clearing, staining, mounting and dissecting techniques. The information content of taxonomic illustrations will be discussed, and detailed information on preparing line drawings, inking techniques and image editing will be provided.

3) Marine Plankton I: Systematics, Morphology, Feeding and Evolution in Calanoid Copepods (Tutor: Susumu Ohtsuka)

Participants will be introduced to the major calanoid families and the morphological characters used to distinguish them. The feeding strategies of calanoid copepods will be reviewed from morphological and evolutionary points of view. Calanoids can be classified into several types depending on the structure of their feeding appendages. The three different groups of particle-feeders differ primarily by the structure of the maxillae and maxillipeds, while carnivorous types are much more diversified in the oceanic regions. In the family Heterorhabdidae a venom-injection system is employed to catch prey animals. Such system could have evolved as a result of modifications of the feeding appendages, secretory glands and musculature of primitive particle-feeding heterorhabdids. Highly specialized carnivory is found also in the family Candaciidae whose members show a preference for gelatinous zooplankters. Detritivorous families, such as Scolecitrichidae and Phaennidae, bear two types of chemosensory setae on the maxillae and maxillipeds, i.e. worm-like and brush-like setae, which may have different functions. The deep-sea phaennid genus Cephalophanes exhibits a special preference for detrital matters originating from crustacean zooplankters. The elaborate eyes seem to play a role in the search for crustacean detritus with bioluminescent bacteria, in concert with the sensory setae on the mouthparts.

4) Marine Plankton II: Systematics and Morphology of non-calanoid planktonic Copepods (Tutor: Ruth Böttger-Schnack]

This lecture will provide an introduction to the highly diverse group of non-calanoid marine planktonic copepods. The various form types included in this group will be presented for comparison and the occurrence in various marine habitats will be contrasted for the different orders and families. The most abundant non-calanoid families will be considered in more detail, including ecological and reproductive characteristics in addition to morphological and taxonomic aspects. Particular attention will be paid to planktonic microcopepods of the family Oncaeidae, which is one is one of the most abundant and speciose non-calanoid copepod families in oceanic areas. Gaps in the current state of knowledge of this family will be highlighted, related especially to sampling and identification problems. Specific methods for handling and identifying the small species on morphological basis will be presented. The opportunities and drawbacks of genetic methods for identification will be discussed and the advantage of combining both approaches be explained. An interactive identification key for female Oncaeidae in the world ocean has been developed and will be presented in the lecture. The key is available on the internet and can be used by the participants during the practical session.

5) Diversity of Copepod Life Cycles (Tutor: Rony Huys)

The ecological adaptability displayed by copepods is reflected in their tremendous morphological plasticity which makes it difficult to formulate a rigorous diagnosis of the subclass Copepoda that is both informative yet sufficiently comprehensive to cover the bizarre parasites as well as the free-living forms. However, virtually all copepods have a stage in their life cycle, either the adult or one of the copepodid instars, exhibiting a cephalosome into which the maxilliped-bearing, first thoracic somite is incorporated and possessing at least two pairs of swimming legs, the members of which are linked by an intercoxal sclerite. The postembryonic development of copepods is divided into a naupliar phase and a copepodid phase. Primitively, each phase comprises six stages but larval development and life cycles are highly variable and can be significantly abbreviated (0–6 nauplii; 1–6 copepodids). Most copepods hatch at the (ortho)nauplius stage, a simple larval form. Occasionally the first stage in the life cycle is a metanauplius and some parasitic species are known to hatch as a copepodid. Typically, after six naupliar instars (often designated as NI, NII, NIII, etc.), the final nauplius stage moults into a copepodid stage, which resembles the adult but has a simple, unsegmented abdomen and only three pairs of thoracic limbs (maxillipeds and legs 1–2). Copepodid stages are often referred to as CoI, CoII, etc. (or CI, CII, etc.). In some parasitic groups a stage following the infective copepodid (or one of the copepodid stages) is called the chalimus; it differs from the copepodid in its possession of a frontal filament that aids in attachment to the host. There are significant changes in body size, shape and appendages in the moult from NVI to CoI, collectively known as metamorphosis. Intermoult stages are important for tracing the origin and homology of larval structures between naupliar and copepodid stages. Some parasitic copepods have an onychopodium or (transient) pupal stages in their life cycle. Participants will be introduced to the different larval types and the major differences between life cycles of free-living and symbiotic/parasitic copepods.

6) Copepods as Hosts for other Crustaceans: an Overview (Tutor: Alexandra S. Savchenko)

Nearly half of the known copepod species have entered into symbiotic relationships with a wide range of metazoan hosts. Copepods themselves are known to serve as hosts for a number of unicellular and multicellular parasites, including other crustaceans. During the workshop participants will be introduced to two groups of marine parasitic crustaceans which utilize copepods either as intermediate (Epicaridea) or definitive hosts (Tantulocarida). Epicaridean isopods (families Bopyridae, Cryptoniscidae, Dajidae, Entoniscidae) infect marine planktonic copepods at the microniscus larval stage. This larva has particular morphological adaptations to attach itself externally to a very motile host, where it moults up to six times to become the next infective stage – the cryptoniscus larva – which leaves the copepod to seek the definitive host. In all known epicaridean life cycles the definitive hosts are free-living or parasitic crustaceans, including decapods, euphausiids, mysids, barnacles (including Rhizocephala), ostracods and other isopods.

The Tantulocarida is a distinct class of minute parasitic microcrustaceans that exclusively utilize other crustaceans as hosts. Crustacean host categories include Amphipoda, Isopoda, Ostracoda, Cumacea and Tanaidacea, however, most commonly tantulocaridans are found on (hyper)benthic harpacticoid and other copepods. Tantulocaridans display a complex dual life cycle. The infective stage known as the tantulus larva locates a suitable host and becomes permanently attached to it by means of a special proteinous glue. The tantulus feeds using a special absorptive rootlet system which grows inside the host through a tiny opening made by the unpaired cephalic stylet. Further metamorphosis which proceeds without typical moulting leads to the release of the next generation of tantuli (parthenogenesis) or free swimming non-parasitic sexual stages.

Finally, the symbiotic association of pedunculate barnacles (Conchoderma spp.) with pandarid and pennellid parasitic copepods (Siphonostomatoida) on marine fish and mammal hosts will be briefly discussed.

7) Marine Benthos: Morphology and Systematics of Harpacticoida (Tutor: Samuel Gómez)

Marine meiofauna, of which harpacticoid copepods is the second most abundant group, outnumbered only by nematodes, is well known for its high abundance in relatively small samples, for its close relationship with the sediment (where most pollutants are found), for its lack of planktonic larvae, for its limited dispersal capacity, and for being a very important source of  food and energy for crustaceans and (larval) fish. Despite their ecological role and increasing popularity in environmental studies in shallow coastal areas and in the deep sea, studies about the ecology, diversity and distribution of harpacticoids are scarce due to their difficult and everchanging taxonomy. In this workshop, students will be introduced to the taxonomy and morphology of harpacticoid copepods with some comments on the last advances in the study of this ubiquitous and interesting group of copepods.

8) Copepods in Fresh Water: Systematics and Morphology of continental Copepods, a quick Overview through all continental Habitats that Copepods can Occupy (Tutor: Nancy F. Mercado-Salas)

Freshwater habitats house an extraordinary diversity in comparison with the small proportion of the Earth‘s surface they occupy. This great diversity results from the variability in environmental characteristics of freshwater habitats, each with their own set of adapted populations. In the case of freshwater environments the larger and more permanent water bodies have received most attention by researchers and small, temporary and peripheral aquatic habitats have been largely ignored in terms of biodiversity surveys. In comparison with marine environments, relatively few families of copepods are present in continental ecosystems; however in terms of diversity the most speciose copepod families are found in such environments (Cyclopidae, Diaptomidae, Canthocamptidae). Participants will be introduced to the major continental families and the morphological characters used to distinguish them. The main groups inhabiting continental environments will be briefly presented, including brackish and coastal systems (Euryteidae, Halicylopinae), freshwater plankton (Cyclopidae, Diaptomidae, Canthocamptidae), subterranean and anchialine ecosystems (Cyclopidae, Halicyclopinae, Parastenocarididae, Chappussiidae, Speleophriidae, Pseudocyclopidae), and finally semi-terrestrial and other cryptic habitats (Cyclopidae, Canthocamptidae, Phyllognathopodidae). A discussion of the phylogenetic position of continental taxa, including morphology and molecular work will be presented.

9) Symbiotic Copepods Using Invertebrate Hosts: Diversity and Adaptation (Tutor: Rony Huys)

Copepods utilise a spectacular variety of invertebrate metazoans as hosts, from sponges to urochordates. Relatively few species of copepods make use of host groups such as the Nemertea, Platyhelminthes, Bryozoa, Phoronida, Brachiopoda, Hemichordata and Sipuncula. However, they are very commonly associated with sponges, the entire range of cnidarian groups from the hard corals and sea anemones to the medusae and siphonophores, most echinoderm and molluscan groups, both solitary and colonial tunicates, and to a lesser extent, crustaceans and annelids (including the former phyla Echiura and Vestimentifera). The main families utilising particular invertebrate host phyla will be introduced and their usage of host microhabitats reviewed. The body form of copepods parasitic on marine invertebrates is astonishingly varied. Many retain the basic cyclopiform body but some of the most extreme examples of secondary reduction in body segmentation combined with the loss of paired limbs are found in copepods from invertebrate hosts. A surprising variety of species also possess a system of rootlets which penetrate host tissues. Students will be introduced to where to find symbiotic copepods, their adaptations to the parasitic mode of life, and the characters that are most useful in their identification. Key aspects of the biology of a selection of the most important taxa and methods of collecting and extracting copepods from their invertebrate hosts will also be summarised.

10) Symbiotic Copepods Using Fish as Hosts: an Overview (Tutor: Danny Tang)

Copepods are common parasites of marine and freshwater fishes and are known to cause diseases in finfish aquaculture. They may also serve as useful bioindicators of host dispersal, host phylogeny and host population structure. Students will be introduced to the life history strategies, morphological diversity and economic importance of piscicolous copepods, with emphasis on poecilostome and siphonostome taxa. In addition, the microhabitats and modes of attachment of piscicolous copepods will be discussed. Techniques for extracting copepods from fish hosts will also be presented.

 

Programme

Date

Time

Course Programme

 

 

 

Sunday

30 May

Evening

Tutors and students arrive/Registration

Monday

31 May

07.30–08.15

Breakfast at Golden Pillow

08.15–09.00

Transfer Polokwane – University of Limpopo (UL)

09.00–09.30

Opening Ceremony/Introduction to the Workshop

09.30–10.00

Coffee/Tea Break

10.00–11.15

Introduction to Copepod Morphology, Ordinal Classification and Phylogeny [RH]

11.15–12.30

Taxonomic Techniques for the Study of Copepods [RH + others]

12.30–13.30

Lunch Break

13.30–15.00

Guided Study of Students’ own Material

15.00–15.30

Coffee/Tea Break

15.30–16.30

Guided Study of Students’ own Material (continued)

16.30–17.15

Transfer UL – Polokwane

18.30–19.30

Dinner at Golden Pillow

Tuesday

1 June

07.30–08.15

Breakfast at Golden Pillow

08.15–09.00

Transfer Polokwane – UL

09.00–10.15

Marine Plankton I: Systematics, Morphology, Feeding and Evolution in Calanoid Copepods [SO]

10.15–10.45

Coffee/Tea Break

10.45–12.00

Marine Plankton II: Systematics and Morphology of non-calanoid planktonic Copepods [RBS]

12.00–13.00

Lunch Break

13.00–15.00

Guided Study of Tutors’ Material – Dissection of Calanoids

15.00–15.30

Coffee/Tea Break

15.30–16.30

Guided Study of Tutors’ Material – Dissection of Calanoids (continued)

16.30–17.45

Transfer UL – Polokwane

18.30–19.30

Dinner at Golden Pillow

Wednesday

2 June

07.30–08.15

Breakfast at Golden Pillow

08.15–09.00

Transfer Polokwane – UL

09.00–10.15

Diversity of Copepod Life Cycles [RH]

10.15–10.45

Coffee/Tea Break

10.45–12.00

Copepods as Hosts for other Crustaceans: an Overview [AS]

12.00–13.00

Lunch Break

13.00–15.00

Guided Study of Students’ own Material

15.00–15.30

Coffee/Tea Break

15.30–16.30

Guided Study of Students’ own Material (continued)

16.30–17.15

Transfer UL – Polokwane

18.30–19.30

Dinner at Golden Pillow

Thursday

3 June

07.30–08.15

Breakfast at Golden Pillow

08.15–09.00

Transfer Polokwane – UL

09.00–10.15

Marine Benthos: Morphology and Systematics of Harpacticoida [SG]

10.15–10.45

Coffee/Tea Break

10.45–12.00

Copepods in fresh water: diversity, ecology and evolution [NMS]

12.00–13.00

Lunch Break

13.00–15.00

Guided Study of Students’ own Material

15.00–15.30

Coffee/Tea Break

15.30–16.30

Guided Study of Students’ own Material (continued)

16.30–17.15

Transfer UL – Polokwane

18.30–19.30

Dinner at Golden Pillow

Friday

4 June

07.30–08.15

Breakfast at Golden Pillow

08.15–09.00

Transfer Polokwane – UL

09.00–10.15

Symbiotic Copepods Using Invertebrate Hosts: Diversity and Adaptation [RH]

10.15–10.45

Coffee/Tea Break

10.45–12.00

Symbiotic Copepods Using Fish as Hosts: an Overview [DT]

12.00–13.00

Lunch Break

13.00–15.00

Guided Study of Tutors’ Material – Dissection of Parasitic Copepods

15.00–15.30

Coffee/Tea Break

15.30–16.30

Guided Study of Tutors’ Material – Dissection of Parasitic Copepods (continued)

16.30–17.15

Open Discussion and Problem-Solving Session/Clean-up of lab

17.15–18.00

Transfer UL – Polokwane

Evening

Dinner

Saturday

5 June

07.30–08.15

Breakfast at Golden Pillow

 

Tutors and students leave by coach to Kruger National Park for 14th ICOC

     

 

 

Notes.  Every participant (tutors and trainees) will be required to give a 1-minute introduction about their affiliation and research interests during the time slot “Introduction to the Workshop”. In one’s own interest it is strongly advised that students contact their most appropriate tutor(s) to discuss problems beforehand so that relevant documentation and literature can be provided. Given the vast amount of literature on copepods do not expect tutors to have access to every single species description during the workshop. Prior consultation with the tutors is therefore recommended if not essential.

Cost

The tuition fee is kept to a minimum and will be R3300 (due by 31/01/2021), together with early bird registration deadline for conference  for the entire course, including lunch. Students attending the training workshop must pay for their own travel to Polokwane. The cost of this will be variable depending on the mode of transport (see above). We assume that all participants will also be travelling to Kruger National Park for the 14th International Conference on Copepoda, commencing on 06 June 2021. Transport from Polokwane to the conference venue will be arranged on 05 June 2021 and a small charge will be required for a coach trip (included in registration fees). Students must also pay for one week’s accommodation and meals. The cost of double accommodation (sharing) including breakfast will be R950/night (R475 per person = R2850 for 6 nights), and for single accommodation including breakfast R710/night (R4200 for 6 nights) at Golden Pillow in Polokwane (https://goldenpillow.co.za/).

How to Apply

A significant proportion of places may be reserved for trainees from African countries but applicants from outside these regions are also encouraged to apply. Applicants are expected to have a reasonable command of the English language. A questionnaire must be completed in order to apply for one of the limited places (20–25) in the course. Students will be selected by the workshop organizer, in consultation with Prof. Susan M. Dippenaar and Dr Danny Tang. Please send or email your completed questionnaire to Rony Huys (r.huys@nhm.ac.uk) at the Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, U.K. as well as to Prof. Susan M. Dippenaar (susan.dippenaar@ul.ac.za) at the Department of Biodiversity, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa.

Successful applicants were informed and should register (see link below). All payments are due by 31 January 2020. No late payments will be accepted.

Click here for for more information.

Click here to apply for workshop

Click here to register for the workshop.