Sea Anemone Workshop Singapore, 15 – 21 June, 2011

Sea Anemone Workshop Singapore, 15 – 21 June, 2011

St John’s Island Marine Laboratory, Tropical Marine Science Institute

National University of Singapore

By

Dr Daphne Fautin

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA

Organized by the Tropical Marine Science Institute and the Raffles Museum for Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore

Introduction
Sea anemones are aquatic predators in Order Actiniaria, Class Anthozoa, Phylum Cnidaria. Like their close relatives corals and jellyfishes, sea anemones have cnidocytes, which are cells that produce the stinging capsules used by these animals to capture prey and for defense. A sea anemone is distinguished from other cnidarians in being a solitary polyp lacking a calcareous skeleton; some have a basal disc by used to attach to a solid surface, but others burrow in mud and sand. They are cosmopolitan, found across all latitudes and at all depths.

In Southeast Asian coastal waters, sea anemones form a significant component of the marine fauna. There is a paucity of published studies and descriptions concerning anemones in these waters. Available documentation of sea anemones is largely in the form of general reports on reef communities or as colorful photographs of unidentified specimens. This is due mainly to the lack of local expertise in the identification of sea anemones. Because sea anemones are facing increasing pressures from collection for the marine aquarium trade, the lack of information on these ecologically significant animals hinders efforts for biodiversity conservation and management.

Objectives
The goals of the workshop are to impart to participants the necessary skills and knowledge to identity tropical sea anemones effectively. This workshop focuses on hands-on laboratory sessions where participants will learn to prepare collected anemone specimens for identification, including through histological examination. Field trips will also be conducted during the course of the workshop to complement the laboratory work and to generate discussions on anemone ecology and habitats. The workshop program will focus on:

  1. Skills training to enable participants to begin to identify anemones. Course content will include notes with keys to major genera, introduction to taxonomy and biology of major groups of anemones, and hands-on dissection and histology, providing participants with practical skills in recognizing and using characters for identification.
  2. Focus will be on anemone ecology, with emphasis on biofouling species. Basic skills training in writing and describing anemone species will also be conducted for those interested in pursuing anemone taxonomy.

This workshop forms an integral part of the recently launched Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey of Singapore in collaboration with the National Parks Board. This national project seeks to identify and document marine organisms that are present in Singapore waters, with the expressed aim to better manage and conserve marine organisms and habitats.

Program
The full workshop program consists of a seven-day residential course covering lectures, laboratory work and field trips. Due to logistic constraints, only eight places are offered for full participants. Priority will be given to postgraduate students and researchers conducting studies in anemone biology or undertaking taxonomic and biodiversity studies of sea anemones. As space is limited, full participants are strongly encouraged to attend the entire program, including all laboratory sessions. Full participants may also bring preserved anemones from their research to work with during the hands-on sessions. Please contact the organizers for more information.

For participants who wish to gain an overview of anemone biology without technical skills training, we recommend part-time attendance. Part-time participants may only attend the lectures and observe some of the lab sessions. Part-time participants will neither attend field trips nor take part in lab sessions. However, ample time will be given for Q&A after each lecture.

Workship Instructor
Dr Daphne Fautin is a sea anemone biologist whose major research interests include the taxonomy and systematics of sea anemones, and their symbiotic relationships with other organisms. Recently, Dr Fautin has examined the symbiotic relationship of a new species of anemone with sand-dwelling gastropods from Saipan. In addition, she has documented 16 species of anemones on the shores of Singapore, ten of them new occurrence records.  She maintains the database Hexacorallians of the World (http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/hexacoral/anemone2/index.cfm) that holds an inventory of documented species of anemones and their allies.

Training Support
Training support will be provided by staff from TMSI and RMBR.

Drs Tan Koh Siang and Tan Swee Hee will be the primary coordinators for the workshop. Koh Siang is a Senior Research Fellow at TMSI, while Swee Hee is Curator overseeing crustacean and invertebrate collections at Raffles Museum for Biodiversity Research. Mr Nicholas Yap is Research Assistant at TMSI whose research interests include zoanthids and sea anemones.

Ms Lin Juanhui is the Education Officer at TMSI. Ms Lin has many years’ experience in education and fieldwork around Singapore’s coastal habitats and reefs.

Registration, fees and payment
For full participants, the deadline for registration is 28th Feburary 2011. We will send you an email to confirm by 22 March 2011, and payment of registration fees should be made by 2nd May 2011 to confirm your attendance. The organizers reserve the right to offer seats to another participant if no payment or formal confirmation has been received by the 2nd May 2011. Payment method, logistics and what to bring will be sent to participants after attendance is confirmed. We regret that the maximum number of full participants we can accommodate is small, so please contact the organizers as early as possible!

For registration and more information about the workshop, please contact the organizers as soon as possible. Registration fees for full participants cover lecture and bench fees, accommodation, meals, utilities, field trips and boat travel to/from St John’s Island.

For part-time participants, please contact the Secretariat tmslinj@nus.edu.sg to register. Payment for confirmation of participation must be made by 7th June 2011 to enable boat travel arrangements to be confirmed. Registration fees for day participants cover lecture and boat travel to/from St John’s island.

Travel
Overseas participants are expected to travel to Singapore at their own expense. Those arriving the day before the workshop will need to find their own accommodation in Singapore on 14th and 15th (Tuesday and Wednesday) nights. Please contact the Secretariat if you require assistance. On the first day of the workshop, all participants are to assemble at the RMBR (NUS) at 9.15am on Wednesday 15th June 2011.

Accommodation
Full participants will be provided air-conditioned dormitory-style rooms for the remaining period of the workshop (16th night through 20th June 2011) at TMSI marine station on St John’s Island.

Meals
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be catered for all participants during the workshop.

Insurance
All participants are expected to obtain their own travel and personal accident insurance. The organizers are not liable for any mishaps during the workshop. Indemnity forms will be issued on confirmation of your registration.

Registration Fees: (SGD$ nett)

Full (Residential) Participants (non-NUS):                             S$600

Part-time participants (non-NUS, non-residential):                S$25 per half day session

——————————————————————————————————————-

Main Organizers:

Dr Tan Koh Siang tmstanks@nus.edu.sg

Dr Tan Swee Hee dbstansh@nus.edu.sg

Mr Nicholas Yap tmsywln@nus.edu.sg

Workshop Secretariat:

Ms Jun Lin tmslinj@nus.edu.sg

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