• E-mailjoan.soto@uib.no
  • Visitor Address
    Allégaten 41
    5007 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7800
    5020 Bergen

My research focuses on species diversity, diversification and distribution in marine invertebrates, with a special focus on Cnidaria (polyps, siphonophores and jellyfish) and Ctenophora (comb jellies) from polar regions.

Benthic hydrozoa play a fundamental role as habitat formers and nursery, while cnidarian jellyfish, siphonophores and ctenophores are key prey and predators in healthy planktonic food webs. This specially applies to polar regions; home to extremely vulnerable yet highly diverse ecosystems which are experiencing unprecedented rapid changes due to global climate change. This extreme communities are at risk of disappearing before we can achieve a good understanding of their diversity and distribution. 

To better understand the hidden diversity in an area and/or within a complex of species, I apply an integrative taxonomy approach combining morphological, ecological and molecular data. I also have a wide interest in both the ecological and evolutionary significance of intra and interspecific variations in life cycle strategies. As a MSCA postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Natural History at the University Museum, I aim to decipher the phenomenon of bipolarity, i.e. the presence of the same (or related) species in both Arctic and Antarctic regions, by using the wide array of hydrozoan life cycle strategies as a model.


Academic article
  • Show author(s) (2024). Stable Laboratory Culture System for the Ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. Methods in molecular biology. 123-145.
  • Show author(s) (2024). Remarkable occurrence of a two-mouthed Beroe in the White Sea. Marine Biodiversity.
  • Show author(s) (2024). A new deep-sea species of golden gorgonian (Octocorallia: Scleralcyonacea: Chrysogorgiidae) from Antarctic waters. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Syncytial nerve net in a ctenophore adds insights on the evolution of nervous systems. Science. 293-297.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Odd family reunion: DNA barcoding reveals unexpected relationship between three hydrozoan species. PeerJ.
  • Show author(s) (2021). Neuropeptide repertoire and 3D anatomy of the ctenophore nervous system. Current Biology. 5274-5285.e6.
Letter to the editor
  • Show author(s) (2023). Are we there yet to eliminate the terms larva, metamorphosis, and dissogeny from the ctenophore literature? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
  • Show author(s) (2023). The Missing Piece – the Gain of Including Gelatinous Zooplankton in Arctic Plankton Surveys.
  • Show author(s) (2021). An Integrative analysis on the benthos of Astrid Ridge and Maud Rise, Southern Ocean.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

- POLE2POLE (PI). The evolutionary origins and consequences of bipolarity in Hydrozoa. Horizon2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. 

- Project NoAH (PI). Norwegian Arctic Hydrozoa. The Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre/Artsdatabanken.

- ParaZoo (WP leader). Metazoan parasites of non-crustacean zooplankton. The Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre/Artsdatabanken.


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