Observing, identifying and describing marine organisms is what I love.
I did taxonomy of Antarctic ofiuroids, identifying the specimens collected by several German and British expeditions during my stay as a collaborator in the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge-UK). Some of the results of the aforementioned work can be seen in the following papers (with links to researchgate).
- A new brooding species of brittle star (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from Antarctic waters
- Brittle stars from Southern Ocean (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea)
My researchgate profile.
What is marineplankton.net?
This site is dedicated to the photographic documentation of planktonic organisms.
My goal is to make a bank of images of the zooplankton species of live animals from the Northern coasts of Spain in the North Atlantic, through different microscopy techniques.
This web is a work in progress, it grows with every sampling. Please feel free to contact me if you have comments or questions.
Contact: rmartinledo (at) gmail.com
What is not marineplankton.net?
It is not a web to identify organisms.
From my experience with ophiuroids, the images give information in quite an approximate way. Accurate identification requires detailed observation of certain characters difficult to see in an image. Therefore, this website does not intend to replace the professional work of taxonomic identification.
Let’s take into consideration the following:
- The golden age of taxonomy was the nineteenth century. At the moment it is in decay to such a point that there are animal groups with no scientist dedicated to them.
- Marine biologists face the problem of not knowing what living creature they have in their samples and not having someone whom to turn to for identification.
- Marine plankton forms an assembly of living beings belonging to numerous phyla (currently, 20 of them are represented on this website). There are so many species that the knowledge necessary for their identification (the first step in studies of diverse nature) requires a long and expensive formation.
- Nowadays, there is no effective tool that would allow a marine biologist to identify specimens quickly and accurately.
- Generally, the taxonomist work with preserved specimens from scientific collections.
Integrating all the aforementioned ideas, I deemed it appropriate to create this web. A tool that can be used by and for:
- Marine biologists during their academic training process: it can serve as an introduction to the different groups that form the zooplankton.
- Marine biology researchers that have to identify their specimens: it can be a good visual atlas that will guide them; although they must confirm the specie with the taxonomic characters of their specimens.
- Taxonomists of diverse marine phyla: the web has high resolution images of living organisms of the groups that they study.
- University professors who can use the web as visual atlas of invertebrates for Lab practices.
Funding and resources
This website is a personal project, everything is financed by my own resources.
My limitations are those that are conditioned by the means I have.
Since no boat is available for me, all the samples are of coastal plankton collected in areas accessible by foot, such as ports.
My microscopy equipment. I have a routine stereomicroscope that does not allow me taking high resolution photographs of many species of zooplankton of such a size that its photography is not possible with a compound microscope.
The microscope I use has no incident light and therefore I cannot take high resolution photos of opaque organisms.
I hope that in the nearest future I will be able to solve these impediments and will be able to show the organisms that are currently out of my reach.
All the photographic images on marineplankton.net are my property. These photographs can be reproduced for further educational purposes and the photographer and this website are fully acknowledged.
Permission must be sought if photographs are to be used for further publication purposes in books, webs etc.
© Rafael Martín-Ledo