Kasper Andersen – University of Copenhagen

Kasper Andersen

Stress tolerance in the tardigrade Echiniscoides sigismundi: Do true cryptobionts osmoregulate?

The August Krogh Scholarship allowed me to focus on data collection and data analysis and it gave me a taste of what the job as a researcher involves.

From laboratory experiments we now have quantitative data regarding the ability of the tardigrade Echiniscoides sigismundi to survive different environmental extremes. Its ability to osmoregulate in order to survive extreme salinities has now been tested for the first time and has given us interesting results.

We have acquired great knowledge of its ability to survive extreme freezing temperatures and our data show that it can readily survive even unnatural extremes, such as liquid nitrogen (-196°C).

Furthermore we performed a series of experiments regarding the ability of Echiniscoides sigismundi to enter a so-called tun state in order to survive different environmental extremes. Much of the collected data is expected to be published in 1-2 publications that will be submitted this year.

The AKC scholarship gave me an opportunity to learn new skills while producing a unique data set, i.e. the handling of micrometazoans as well as the microscopy techniques necessary to measure volume changes of these small animals following changes in external salinity.

I regard the scholarship as a great opportunity for a good career start. It followed immediately after I obtained my master degree and gave me the possibly to strengthen my CV through additional skills and publications.