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A Baltic sea fish named after IMR-researcher

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Østersjøflyndren Platichthys solemdali ligner skrubbe (Platichthys flesus), men viste seg å være en egen art som kun forekommer i Østersjøen. Foto: Mats Westerbom

A new flatfish in the Baltic Sea, the “Baltic flounder”, has received the Latin name Platichthys solemdali after the late Norwegian scientist Per Solemdal. Genetic studies in 2017 confirmed that this flounder was a new species of fish.

Per Solemdal was a marine biologist, employed at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen for 43 years. He died in 2016, 75 years old. Solemdal was the first researcher who studied the Baltic flounder’s eggs and sperm in connection to salinity. His research thus formed the basis for further research on the species.

Last year, researchers at the University of Helsinki discovered that the Baltic flounder Platichthys solemdali is the first identified fish species that occurs only in the Baltic Sea.

– The reason we have not identified this species before, is that the appearance of this new species is almost identical to the common European flounder Platichthys flesus, says professor Juha Merilä at the University of Helsinki. 

The two species is distinguished only by genetic methods, or by studying their eggs and sperm.

Read more on the University of Helsinki’s website