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Image: St. Lawrence marine ecosystem
St. Lawrence marine ecosystem

New forms of life

Almost two million species have been identified so far on Earth.

Did you know that two of them are named after the Biodôme?

Image: Serge Parent
Serge Parent

Serge Parent, one of the biologists on the Biodôme’s research team, made a discovery during his doctoral studies.

In 1996, he identified a new species in the meiofauna of the St. Lawrence Marine ecosystem.

What is meiofauna?

It consists of tiny invertebrates living in salt water or fresh water and that play an important role in maintaining the balance of natural habitats.

Image: sea lion
sea lion

The new species was discovered in the gravel bottom of the Biodôme’s tidal pool.

This little mite is a minuscule invertebrate related to spiders. It was dubbed “sea lion” or Copidognathus biodomus.
Close to one millimetre long, it is a formidable bottom predator, feeding on organisms living in the sediment. It reduces the speed at which organic matter decomposes.

The discovery was certified by Dr. Ilse Bartsch, an internationally renowned marine mite expert.

Image: the research team
the research team

Another discovery at the Biodôme!

Normand Labbé (standing, 4th from the left), a doctoral student at the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, discovered a species of bacteria.

His work was directed by Richard Villemur, a molecular biologist at the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, and Serge Parent, a biologist and scientific consultant at the Biodôme.

These Quebec researchers were the first in the world to identify this bacterium.

Image: Nitratireductor aquibiodomus
Nitratireductor aquibiodomus

This time it was in the waste seawater denitrification system for the St. Lawrence Marine ecosystem that the new species was discovered.

It was named Nitratireductor aquibiodomus.

This bacterium was probably introduced to the Biodôme along with fish or invertebrates brought in for the St. Lawrence Marine ecosystem.

Image: drinking water
drinking water

The uses and applications of this bacterium remain to be determined, but already seem promising.

It could be used to "purify" drinking water containing too many nitrates. This is because it breathes not only oxygen dissolved in water, but also nitrates, reducing them to nitrites, which other bacteria further reduce to nitrogen gas, the main ingredient in the air we breathe.

Image: Île d'Orléans
Île d'Orléans

In Quebec, and especially on the Île d'Orléans and in the Beauce region, it could be used to clean water tables polluted with nitrates.

Image: dénitrificateur

Many other species of bacteria live in the Biodôme's denitrification system. The research team’s work could soon lead to the discovery of other new species.

For more information:
How do invertebrates eat? | New forms of life | Descriptive records

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