Currently Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas and Miquel Pontes, founding partners of VIMAR, are working on a website project called “OPK – Opistobranquis“, with the objective to document, catalog and make publicly available a large collection of known opisthobranch molluscs species covering the Mediterranean and Iberian waters, including the Atlantic coasts and islands.
Monthly opisthobranch sampling at the Medes Islands
Since 2012 we’re conducting regular monthly samplings of opisthobranch molluscs at the Parc Natural del Montgrí, les illes Medes i Baix Ter, thanks to a collaboration agreement between the Natural Park and VIMAR.
Studies of populations of different opisthobranch genus in Catalonia
In collaboration with the Department of Biology at the University of Barcelona we conduct field observations for a series of studies of different opisthobranch genus populations in Catalan waters:
- Study of the populations of the genus Doto in the Catalan coast (VIMAR, Àlvaro Pujals), carrying out the molecular characterization, the study on the feeding and reproduction.
- Study of the populations of the genus Runcina in the Catalan coast (VIMAR, Miquel Correa), in collaboration with Dr. Juan Lucas Cervera from the University of Cádiz.
- Study of the populations of the genus Dendrodoris the Catalan coast (VIMAR, Carles Galià) with the study of the population at Cubelles (Barcelona), carrying out the molecular characterization, the study on the feeding and reproduction.
- Review of the opisthobranch genus Berthella / Berthellina worldwide, collaborating with Dr. Angel Valdes of Pomona University in California, providing samples of the species that inhabit the Catalan coast (B. stellata, B. ocellata, B. plumula, Berthellina edwardsii).
- Contribution to the opisthobranch species census of the Catalan coast, introducing field observations in the BIOCAT database of the Government of Catalonia.
Field Training on Marine Biology
Since 2012 our team regularly incorporates students of Biology (and other related sciences) with a minimum skills in Scuba diving, to our sampling campaigns, in order to train them in the species observation and identification in the marine environment and the field sampling and field data collection procedures, as a way to measure the quality, diversity and health of marine ecosystems.