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Marine Ecology

Jessica J Williams, Yannis P Papastamatiou, Jennifer E Caselle, Darcy Bradley, David M P Jacoby
Animal movements can facilitate important ecological processes, and wide-ranging marine predators, such as sharks, potentially contribute significantly towards nutrient transfer between habitats. We applied network theory to 4 years of acoustic telemetry data for grey reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) at Palmyra, an unfished atoll, to assess their potential role in nutrient dynamics throughout this remote ecosystem. We evaluated the dynamics of habitat connectivity and used network metrics to quantify shark-mediated nutrient distribution...
March 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
C Melissa Miner, Jennifer L Burnaford, Richard F Ambrose, Liam Antrim, Heath Bohlmann, Carol A Blanchette, John M Engle, Steven C Fradkin, Rani Gaddam, Christopher D G Harley, Benjamin G Miner, Steven N Murray, Jayson R Smith, Stephen G Whitaker, Peter T Raimondi
Disease outbreaks can have substantial impacts on wild populations, but the often patchy or anecdotal evidence of these impacts impedes our ability to understand outbreak dynamics. Recently however, a severe disease outbreak occurred in a group of very well-studied organisms-sea stars along the west coast of North America. We analyzed nearly two decades of data from a coordinated monitoring effort at 88 sites ranging from southern British Columbia to San Diego, California along with 2 sites near Sitka, Alaska to better understand the effects of sea star wasting disease (SSWD) on the keystone intertidal predator, Pisaster ochraceus...
2018: PloS One
Huei-Mien Ke, Dang Liu, Yoshitoshi Ogura, Tetsuya Hayashi, Henryk Urbanczyk, Isheng J Tsai
The mechanism of bacterial speciation remains a topic of tremendous interest. To understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms of speciation in Vibrio bacteria, we analyzed the genomic dissimilarities between three closely related species in the so-called Harveyi clade of the genus Vibrio : V. campbellii , V. jasicida and V. hyugaensis The analysis focused on strains isolated from diverse geographic locations, over a long period of time. Results of phylogenetic analyses and calculations of average nucleotide identities (ANI) supported classification of V...
March 19, 2018: Journal of Bacteriology
Kai Zhang, Huahong Shi, Jinping Peng, Yinghui Wang, Xiong Xiong, Chenxi Wu, Paul K S Lam
The pollution of marine environments and inland waters by plastic debris has raised increasing concerns worldwide in recent years. China is the world's largest developing country and the largest plastic producer. In this review, we gather available information on microplastic pollution in China's inland water systems. The results show that microplastics are ubiquitous in the investigated inland water systems, and high microplastic abundances were observed in developed areas. Although similar sampling and analytical methods were used for microplastic research in inland water and marine systems, methods of investigation should be standardized in the future...
March 13, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
Simon Pouil, Rachel J Clausing, Marc Metian, Paco Bustamante, Marie-Yasmine Dechraoui Bottein
Essential nutrients are critical for physiological processes of organisms. In fish, they are obtained primarily from the diet, and their transfer and accumulation are known to be impacted by environmental variables such as water temperature, pH and salinity, as well as by diet composition and matrices. Yet, prey items consumed by fish may also contain toxic compounds such as marine toxins associated with harmful algae. These biotoxins have the potential to affect essential trace element assimilation in fish through chemical interactions such as the formation of trace element-toxin complexes or by affecting general fish physiology as in the modification of ion-specific transport pathways...
March 5, 2018: Aquatic Toxicology
Joshua P Egan, Devin D Bloom, Chien-Hsien Kuo, Michael P Hammer, Prasert Tongnunui, Samuel P Iglésias, Marcus Sheaves, Chaiwut Grudpan, Andrew M Simons
Biotic and abiotic forces govern the evolution of trophic niches, which profoundly impact ecological and evolutionary processes and aspects of species biology. Herbivory is a particularly interesting trophic niche because there are theorized trade-offs associated with diets comprised of low quality food that might prevent the evolution of herbivory in certain environments. Herbivory has also been identified as a potential evolutionary "dead-end" that hinders subsequent trophic diversification. For this study we investigated trophic niche evolution in Clupeoidei (anchovies, sardines, herrings, and their relatives) and tested the hypotheses that herbivory is negatively correlated with salinity and latitude using a novel, time-calibrated molecular phylogeny, trophic guilds delimited using diet data and cluster analysis, and standard and phylogenetically-informed statistical methods...
March 15, 2018: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Julia Twichell, Richard Pollnac, Patrick Christie
International interest in increasing marine protected area (MPA) coverage reflects broad recognition of the MPA as a key tool for marine ecosystems and fisheries management. Nevertheless, effective management remains a significant challenge. The present study contributes to enriching an understanding of best practices for MPA management through analysis of archived community survey data collected in the Philippines by the Learning Project (LP), a collaboration with United States Coral Triangle Initiative (USCTI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and partners...
March 15, 2018: Environmental Management
Khawla Seddiki, François Godart, Riccardo Aiese Cigliano, Walter Sanseverino, Mohamed Barakat, Philippe Ortet, Fabrice Rébeillé, Eric Maréchal, Olivier Cagnac, Alberto Amato
Thraustochytrids are ecologically and biotechnologically relevant marine species. We report here the de novo assembly and annotation of the whole-genome sequence of a new thraustochytrid strain, CCAP_4062/3. The genome size was estimated at 38.7 Mb with 11,853 predicted coding sequences, and the GC content was scored at 57%.
March 15, 2018: Genome Announcements
Cordula Göke, Karsten Dahl, Christian Mohn
The development of offshore wind energy and other competing interests in sea space are a major incentive for designating marine and coastal areas for specific human activities. Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) considers human activities at sea in a more integrated way by analysing and designating spatial and temporal distributions of human activities based on ecological, economic and social targets. However, specific tools supporting spatial decisions at sea incorporating all relevant sectors are rarely adopted...
2018: PloS One
Peter Weißhuhn, Felix Müller, Hubert Wiggering
To safeguard the sustainable use of ecosystems and their services, early detection of potentially damaging changes in functional capabilities is needed. To support a proper ecosystem management, the analysis of an ecosystem's vulnerability provide information on its weaknesses as well as on its capacity to recover after suffering an impact. However, the application of the vulnerability concept to ecosystems is still an emerging topic. After providing background on the vulnerability concept, we summarize existing ecosystem vulnerability research on the basis of a systematic literature review with a special focus on ecosystem type, disciplinary background, and more detailed definition of the ecosystem vulnerability components...
March 14, 2018: Environmental Management
Jennifer C Selgrath, Sarah E Gergel, Amanda C J Vincent
Locally sustainable resource extraction activities, at times, transform into ecologically detrimental enterprises. Understanding such transitions is a primary challenge for conservation and management of many ecosystems. In marine systems, over-exploitation of small-scale fisheries creates problems such as reduced biodiversity and lower catches. However, long-term documentation of how governance and associated changes in fishing gears may have contributed to such declines is often lacking. Using fisher interviews, we characterized fishing gear dynamics over 60 years (1950-2010) in a coral reef ecosystem in the Philippines subject to changing fishing regulations...
2018: PloS One
W W L Cheung
This paper aims to highlight the risk of climate change on coupled marine human and natural systems and explore possible solutions to reduce such risk. Specifically, it explores some of the key responses of marine fish stocks and fisheries to climate change and their implications for human society. It highlights the importance of mitigating carbon emission and achieving the Paris Agreement in reducing climate risk on marine fish stocks and fisheries. Finally, it discusses potential opportunities for helping fisheries to reduce climate threats, through local adaptation...
March 2018: Journal of Fish Biology
Frederieke Kroon, Cherie Motti, Sam Talbot, Paula Sobral, Marji Puotinen
Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, with microplastic (i.e. <5 mm) contamination a global issue of emerging concern. The lack of universally accepted methods for quantifying microplastic contamination, including consistent application of microscopy, photography, an spectroscopy and photography, may result in unrealistic contamination estimates. Here, we present and apply an analysis workflow tailored to quantifying microplastic contamination in marine waters, incorporating stereomicroscopic visual sorting, microscopic photography and attenuated total reflectance (ATR) Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy...
March 10, 2018: Environmental Pollution
Francesco Ferretti, David Curnick, Keli Liu, Evgeny V Romanov, Barbara A Block
Scientific monitoring has recorded only a recent fraction of the oceans' alteration history. This biases our understanding of marine ecosystems. Remote coral reef ecosystems are often considered pristine because of high shark abundance. However, given the long history and global nature of fishing, sharks' vulnerability, and the ecological consequences of shark declines, these states may not be natural. In the Chagos archipelago, one of the remotest coral reef systems on the planet, protected by a very large marine reserve, we integrated disparate fisheries and scientific survey data to reconstruct baselines and long-term population trajectories of two dominant sharks...
March 2018: Science Advances
Michael E Alfaro, Brant C Faircloth, Richard C Harrington, Laurie Sorenson, Matt Friedman, Christine E Thacker, Carl H Oliveros, David Černý, Thomas J Near
The Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction is linked to the rapid emergence of ecologically divergent higher taxa (for example, families and orders) across terrestrial vertebrates, but its impact on the diversification of marine vertebrates is less clear. Spiny-rayed fishes (Acanthomorpha) provide an ideal system for exploring the effects of the K-Pg on fish diversification, yet despite decades of morphological and molecular phylogenetic efforts, resolution of both early diverging lineages and enormously diverse subclades remains problematic...
March 12, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Simonetta Mattiucci, Paolo Cipriani, Arne Levsen, Michela Paoletti, Giuseppe Nascetti
This review addresses the biodiversity, biology, distribution, ecology, epidemiology, and consumer health significance of the so far known species of Anisakis, both in their natural hosts and in human accidental host populations, worldwide. These key aspects of the Anisakis species' biology are highlighted, since we consider them as main driving forces behind which most of the research in this field has been carried out over the past decade. From a public health perspective, the human disease caused by Anisakis species (anisakiasis) appears to be considerably underreported and underestimated in many countries or regions around the globe...
2018: Advances in Parasitology
Auriane Virgili, Matthieu Authier, Pascal Monestiez, Vincent Ridoux
Despite large efforts, datasets with few sightings are often available for rare species of marine megafauna that typically live at low densities. This paucity of data makes modelling the habitat of these taxa particularly challenging. We tested the predictive performance of different types of species distribution models fitted to decreasing numbers of sightings. Generalised additive models (GAMs) with three different residual distributions and the presence only model MaxEnt were tested on two megafauna case studies differing in both the number of sightings and ecological niches...
2018: PloS One
Jessica A Rowland, Emily Nicholson, Nicholas J Murray, David A Keith, Rebecca E Lester, Lucie M Bland
Ongoing ecosystem degradation and transformation are key threats to biodiversity. Measuring ecosystem change towards collapse relies on monitoring indicators that quantify key ecological processes. Yet little guidance is available on selecting and implementing indicators for ecosystem risk assessment. Here, we reviewed indicator use in ecological studies of decline towards collapse in marine pelagic and temperate forest ecosystems. We evaluated the use of indicator selection methods, indicator types (geographic distribution, abiotic, biotic), methods of assessing multiple indicators, and temporal quality of time series...
March 12, 2018: Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
Federico Sabbadin, Giovanna Pesante, Luisa Elias, Katrin Besser, Yi Li, Clare Steele-King, Meg Stark, Deborah A Rathbone, Adam A Dowle, Rachel Bates, J Reuben Shipway, Simon M Cragg, Neil C Bruce, Simon J McQueen-Mason
Lignocellulose forms the structural framework of woody plant biomass and represents the most abundant carbon source in the biosphere. Turnover of woody biomass is a critical component of the global carbon cycle, and the enzymes involved are of increasing industrial importance as industry moves away from fossil fuels to renewable carbon resources. Shipworms are marine bivalve molluscs that digest wood and play a key role in global carbon cycling by processing plant biomass in the oceans. Previous studies suggest that wood digestion in shipworms is dominated by enzymes produced by endosymbiotic bacteria found in the animal's gills, while little is known about the identity and function of endogenous enzymes produced by shipworms...
2018: Biotechnology for Biofuels
John S S Denton
The mesopelagic (midwater) and deep-sea environments together comprise over 90% of the volume of the world ocean [1] and provide services that are only recently becoming recognized [2]. One of the most significant of these services relates to midwater fish biomass, recently estimated to be two orders of magnitude larger than the current worldwide fisheries catch [3, 4]. Calls to exploit midwater fish biomass have increased despite warnings about the unknown recovery potential of such organisms [2] and despite existing data suggesting that deep-sea fishes could be classified as endangered [5]...
March 3, 2018: Current Biology: CB
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