Joel Vikberg Wernström » Members

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Joel Vikberg Wernström

PhD candidate UiT The Arctic University of NorwayDepartment of Arctic and Marine Biology
Work address Department of Arctic and Marine Biology Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics UiT The Arctic University of Norway Tromsø 9037 Norway
Photo of Joel Vikberg Wernström

PhD project title:

Benthic Metazoan Meiofauna of the Barents Sea – Ecology, Systematics and Evolution.

PhD project description:

Benthic meiofauna are a diverse guild of tiny animals which inhabit the sediments of the Earth’s ocean floors. Many meiofaunal groups have evolved remarkable adaptations to cope with life between the grains, such as elaborate adhesive gland systems or the ability to thrive in low-oxygen environments. Typically, the animals range between 30-500 μm in length, and many taxa are elongated and blind. Meiofauna are a scientifically neglected group, and taxonomic discoveries on the phylum level have happened several times within recent memory; for instance, Loricifera was described from shelly gravels of the North Sea in 1983, and Micrognathozoa from Greenlandic sediments in 1996. In few places are meiofaunal communities more poorly understood than in the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean, where they now face a mounting threat from climate change and atlantification. Improving the knowledge status of the diversity, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary adaptations of Arctic meiofauna is therefore an urgent matter, which my project aims to address.

Start date: April 1, 2022
Planned submission date: March 30, 2026


Andreas Altenburger (The Arctic University Museum of Norway, Tromsø, Norway)
Bodil Bluhm (UiT, Tromsø, Norway)

Scientific publications:

  1. Qvarnström M, Fikáček M, Vikberg Wernström J, Huld S, Beutel RG, Arriaga-Varela E, Ahlberg PE & Niedźwiedzki G. 2021. Exceptionally preserved beetles in a Triassic coprolite of putative dinosauriform origin. Current Biology 31:3374-3381.
  2. Qvarnström M, Vikberg Wernström J, Piechowski R, Tałanda M, Ahlberg PE & Niedźwiedzki G. 2019. Beetle-bearing coprolites possibly reveal the diet of a Late Triassic dinosauriform. Royal Society Open Science 6:181042.