Report: Gulen Nudibranch Safari

Day 2

The weather here at Gulen Dive Resort has turned a little snowy! Despite this, none of the nudi-holics were put off getting up early and going diving. The water is actually relatively warm, around 5°C (43°F), and once you are underwater, surface conditions make little difference.

The airlines finally managed to get my dive gear to me, so it was a huge relief to be able to go diving. The sheer number of nudibranchs on the reef is simply amazing. I have been to Gulen before, but never at this time of year and the difference is significant.

After the dive, Dr. Torkild Bakken introduced us to the current state of the art in nudibranch species identification in Norway.

So far, the National Museum has identified a total of around 100 species with around 70 species having been identified by DNA sequencing.

Torkild emphasised how the important an input citizen diver’s observations have been in tracking both species and their ranges. With sea temperature change being a reality, getting an idea of how this is affecting species’s range is an important metric.

Of course, after the talk everyone went diving again.

During this, Dr. Tatiana Korshunova found a Cuthona amoena, which has not been seen here before.

Cuthona amoena. Image by Dr. Alexander Martynov

After lunch and the dive, Dr. Alexander Martynov presented his talk about his travels and his exploratory trips discovering and cataloging nudibranch species.

Alexander is incredibly knowledgable and enthusiastic!

The third dive of the day resulted in yet more species being added to the “hit list.”

Almost unbelievably, Bjørnar Nygård found a Hero formosa which is a burrowing nudibranch and so is hence not often seen or found.

Image courtesy of Bjørnar Nygård

The total number of species recorded so far for the Nudibranch Safari is now 38!

More diving to come tomorrow. We will be taking Gulen’s big boat out to some sites out to the west, so please stay posted to see what we find.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4