Location: National Marine Science Centre, Coffs Harbour
Dates: 4-5 December 2015
Workshop organizer: Dr Richard Willan
Ten keen participants took part in a 2 day work-shop conducted by Dr. Richard Willan, Senior Curator of Mollusca at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. After a general introduction and overview of the workshop program, Richard looked at parallel evolution in mollusca, discussing the varieties of body form in the group formerly known as the Opisthobranchia. Material collected at Woolgoolga Headland the preceding day, amply demonstrating this variety, was next properly identified. Richard then formally overviewed the major orders Rhodopemorpha, Acteonoidea, Cephalaspidea, Acochlidia, Anaspidea, Thecosomata, Gymno-somata, Sacoglossa, Pleurobranchomorpha, and Umbraculida. Armed with this information, we proceeded to the lab where specimens were examined under the microscope and drawn, noting key features. They were relaxed at the day’s close, anticipating further examination and dissection the following day.
Day 2 commenced with a lecture on the largest order, Nudibranchia, with detailed discussion of 17 key families – this was a treasure trove of interesting information. We then went to the lab to examine and again draw specimens in relaxed form, noting differences between living and relaxed states. After lunch, Richard introduced us to dissection, demonstrating aspects of the digestive, nervous and reproductive systems in Sebadoris fragilis and Dendro-doris nigra. A session at the compound microscope then examined pre-prepared radulae of various nudibranchs including Hypselodoris jacksoni, Gymnodoris queenslandica, Berthellina citrina and Flabellina rubrolineata.