ResearchPad - copepods https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The 2015-2016 El Niño increased infection parameters of copepods on Eastern Tropical Pacific dolphinfish populations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7672 The oceanographic conditions of the Pacific Ocean are largely modified by El Niño (EN), affecting several ecological processes. Parasites and other marine organisms respond to environmental variation, but the influence of the EN cycle on the seasonal variation of parasitic copepods has not been yet evaluated. We analysed the relation between infection parameters (prevalence and mean intensity) of the widespread parasitic copepods Caligus bonito and Charopinopsis quaternia in the dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus and oceanography during the strong 2015–16 EN. Fish were collected from capture fisheries on the Ecuadorian coast (Tropical Eastern Pacific) over a 2-year period. Variations of sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, chlorophyll a (Chl-a), Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), total host length (TL) and monthly infection parameters of both copepod species were analysed using time series and cross-correlations. We used the generalised additive models for determine the relationship between environmental variables and infection parameters. The total body length of the ovigerous females and the length of the eggs of C. bonito were measured in both periods. Infection parameters of both C. bonito and Ch. quaternia showed seasonal and annual patterns associated with the variation of environmental variables examined (SST, salinity, Chl-a and ONI 1+2). Infection parameters of both copepod species were significantly correlated with ONI 1+2, SST, TL and Chl-a throughout the GAMLSS model, and the explained deviance contribution ranged from 16%-36%. Our results suggest than an anomaly higher than +0.5°C triggers a risen in infection parameters of both parasitic copepods. This risen could be related to increases in egg length, female numbers and the total length of the ovigerous females in EN period. This study provides the first evidence showing that tropical parasitic copepods are sensitive to the influence of EN event, especially from SST variations. The observed behaviour of parasitic copepods likely affects the host populations and structure of the marine ecosystem at different scales.

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<![CDATA[Marine environmental DNA biomonitoring reveals seasonal patterns in biodiversity and identifies ecosystem responses to anomalous climatic events]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730a5d5eed0c484f37e31

Marine ecosystems are changing rapidly as the oceans warm and become more acidic. The physical factors and the changes to ocean chemistry that they drive can all be measured with great precision. Changes in the biological composition of communities in different ocean regions are far more challenging to measure because most biological monitoring methods focus on a limited taxonomic or size range. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis has the potential to solve this problem in biological oceanography, as it is capable of identifying a huge phylogenetic range of organisms to species level. Here we develop and apply a novel multi-gene molecular toolkit to eDNA isolated from bulk plankton samples collected over a five-year period from a single site. This temporal scale and level of detail is unprecedented in eDNA studies. We identified consistent seasonal assemblages of zooplankton species, which demonstrates the ability of our toolkit to audit community composition. We were also able to detect clear departures from the regular seasonal patterns that occurred during an extreme marine heatwave. The integration of eDNA analyses with existing biotic and abiotic surveys delivers a powerful new long-term approach to monitoring the health of our world’s oceans in the context of a rapidly changing climate.

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<![CDATA[Upwelling modulation of functional traits of a dominant planktonic grazer during “warm-acid” El Niño 2015 in a year-round upwelling area of Humboldt Current]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46653ed5eed0c484518309

Climate change is expected to exacerbate upwelling intensity and natural acidification in Eastern Boundaries Upwelling Systems (EBUS). Conducted between January-September 2015 in a nearshore site of the northern Humboldt Current System directly exposed to year-round upwelling episodes, this study was aimed at assessing the relationship between upwelling mediated pH-changes and functional traits of the numerically dominant planktonic copepod-grazer Acartia tonsa (Copepoda). Environmental temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, alkalinity, chlorophyll-a (Chl), copepod adult size, egg production (EP), and egg size and growth were assessed through 28 random oceanographic surveys. Agglomerative clustering and multidimensional scaling identified three main di-similitude nodes within temporal variability of abiotic and biotic variables: A) “upwelling”, B) “non-upwelling”, and C) “warm-acid” conditions. Nodes A and B represented typical features within the upwelling phenology, characterized by the transition from low temperature, oxygen, pH and Chl during upwelling to higher levels during non-upwelling conditions. However, well-oxygenated, saline and “warm-acid” node C seemed to be atypical for local climatology, suggesting the occurrence of a low frequency oceanographic perturbation. Multivariate (LDA and ANCOVA) analyses revealed upwelling through temperature, oxygen and pH were the main factors affecting variations in adult size and EP, and highlighted growth rates were significantly lower under node C. Likely buffering upwelling pH-reductions, phytoplankton biomass maintained copepod reproduction despite prevailing low temperature, oxygen and pH levels in the upwelling setting. Helping to better explain why this species is among the most recurrent ones in these variable yet productive upwelling areas, current findings also provide opportune cues on plankton responses under warm-acid conditions, which are expected to occur in productive EBUS as a consequence of climate perturbations.

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<![CDATA[Modified FlowCAM procedure for quantifying size distribution of zooplankton with sample recycling capacity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc31a

We have developed a modified FlowCAM procedure for efficiently quantifying the size distribution of zooplankton. The modified method offers the following new features: 1) prevents animals from settling and clogging with constant bubbling in the sample container; 2) prevents damage to sample animals and facilitates recycling by replacing the built-in peristaltic pump with an external syringe pump, in order to generate negative pressure, creates a steady flow by drawing air from the receiving conical flask (i.e. vacuum pump), and transfers plankton from the sample container toward the main flowcell of the imaging system and finally into the receiving flask; 3) aligns samples in advance of imaging and prevents clogging with an additional flowcell placed ahead of the main flowcell. These modifications were designed to overcome the difficulties applying the standard FlowCAM procedure to studies where the number of individuals per sample is small, and since the FlowCAM can only image a subset of a sample. Our effective recycling procedure allows users to pass the same sample through the FlowCAM many times (i.e. bootstrapping the sample) in order to generate a good size distribution. Although more advanced FlowCAM models are equipped with syringe pump and Field of View (FOV) flowcells which can image all particles passing through the flow field; we note that these advanced setups are very expensive, offer limited syringe and flowcell sizes, and do not guarantee recycling. In contrast, our modifications are inexpensive and flexible. Finally, we compared the biovolumes estimated by automated FlowCAM image analysis versus conventional manual measurements, and found that the size of an individual zooplankter can be estimated by the FlowCAM image system after ground truthing.

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<![CDATA[Ocean acidification effects on mesozooplankton community development: Results from a long-term mesocosm experiment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcc23

Ocean acidification may affect zooplankton directly by decreasing in pH, as well as indirectly via trophic pathways, where changes in carbon availability or pH effects on primary producers may cascade up the food web thereby altering ecosystem functioning and community composition. Here, we present results from a mesocosm experiment carried out during 113 days in the Gullmar Fjord, Skagerrak coast of Sweden, studying plankton responses to predicted end-of-century pCO2 levels. We did not observe any pCO2 effect on the diversity of the mesozooplankton community, but a positive pCO2 effect on the total mesozooplankton abundance. Furthermore, we observed species-specific sensitivities to pCO2 in the two major groups in this experiment, copepods and hydromedusae. Also stage-specific pCO2 sensitivities were detected in copepods, with copepodites being the most responsive stage. Focusing on the most abundant species, Pseudocalanus acuspes, we observed that copepodites were significantly more abundant in the high-pCO2 treatment during most of the experiment, probably fuelled by phytoplankton community responses to high-pCO2 conditions. Physiological and reproductive output was analysed on P. acuspes females through two additional laboratory experiments, showing no pCO2 effect on females’ condition nor on egg hatching. Overall, our results suggest that the Gullmar Fjord mesozooplankton community structure is not expected to change much under realistic end-of-century OA scenarios as used here. However, the positive pCO2 effect detected on mesozooplankton abundance could potentially affect biomass transfer to higher trophic levels in the future.

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<![CDATA[Guinea worm eradication: Progress and challenges— should we beware of the dog?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf32d ]]> <![CDATA[Diversity, Distribution and Nature of Faunal Associations with Deep-Sea Pennatulacean Corals in the Northwest Atlantic]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fbab0ee8fa60b71fb7

Anthoptilum grandiflorum and Halipteris finmarchica are two deep-sea corals (Octocorallia: Pennatulacea) common on soft bottoms in the North Atlantic where they are believed to act as biogenic habitat. The former also has a worldwide distribution. To assist conservation efforts, this study examines spatial and temporal patterns in the abundance, diversity, and nature of their faunal associates. A total of 14 species were found on A. grandiflorum and 6 species on H. finmarchica during a multi-year and multi-site sampling campaign in eastern Canada. Among those, 7 and 5 species, respectively, were attached to the sea pens and categorized as close associates or symbionts. Rarefaction analyses suggest that the most common associates of both sea pens have been sampled. Biodiversity associated with each sea pen is analyzed according to season, depth and region using either close associates or the broader collection of species. Associated biodiversity generally increases from northern to southern locations and does not vary with depth (∼100–1400 m). Seasonal patterns in A. grandiflorum show higher biodiversity during spring/summer due to the transient presence of early life stages of fishes and shrimps whereas it peaks in fall for H. finmarchica. Two distinct endoparasitic species of highly modified copepods (families Lamippidae and Corallovexiidae) commonly occur in the polyps of A. grandiflorum and H. finmarchica, and a commensal sea anemone frequently associates with H. finmarchica. Stable isotope analyses (δ13C and δ15N) reveal potential trophic interactions between the parasites and their hosts. Overall, the diversity of obligate/permanent associates of sea pens is moderate; however the presence of mobile/transient associates highlights an ecological role that has yet to be fully elucidated and supports their key contribution to the enhancement of biodiversity in the Northwest Atlantic.

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<![CDATA[Molecular phylogeny of Oncaeidae (Copepoda) using nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS rDNA)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db59ab0ee8fa60bdf0f4

Copepods belonging to the Oncaeidae family are commonly and abundantly found in marine zooplankton. In the Mediterranean Sea, forty-seven oncaeid species occur, of which eleven in the Gulf of Naples. In this Gulf, several Oncaea species were morphologically analysed and described at the end of the XIX century by W. Giesbrecht. In the same area, oncaeids are being investigated over seasonal and inter-annual scales at the long-term coastal station LTER-MC. In the present work, we identified six oncaeid species using the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers (ITS rDNA) and the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (mtCOI). Phylogenetic analyses based on these two genomic regions validated the sisterhood of the genera Triconia and the Oncaea sensu stricto. ITS1 and ITS2 phylogenies produced incongruent results about the position of Oncaea curta, calling for further investigations on this species. We also characterised the ITS2 region by secondary structure predictions and found that all the sequences analysed presented the distinct eukaryotic hallmarks. A Compensatory Base Change search corroborated the close relationship between O. venusta and O. curta and between O. media and O. venusta already identified by ITS phylogenies. The present results, which stem from the integration of molecular and morphological taxonomy, represent an encouraging step towards an improved knowledge of copepod biodiversity: The two complementary approaches, when applied to long-term copepod monitoring, will also help to better understanding their genetic variations and ecological niches of co-occurring species.

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<![CDATA[Use of Photo-Identification and Mark-Recapture Methodology to Assess Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) Populations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da22ab0ee8fa60b7f7c1

Following centuries of exploitation, basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) are considered by IUCN as Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic, where they have now been substantially protected for over two decades. However, the present size of this population remains unknown. We investigated the use of photo-identification of individuals’ dorsal fins, combined with mark-recapture methodology, to investigate the size of populations of basking shark within the west coast of Scotland. From a total of 921 encounters photographed between 2004 and 2011, 710 sharks were found to be individually identifiable based on dorsal fin damage and natural features. Of these, only 41 individuals were re-sighted, most commonly both within days of, and close to the site of, the initial encounter. A smaller number were re-sighted after longer periods of up to two years. A comparison of the distinguishing features of individuals on first recording and subsequent re-sighting showed that in almost all cases these features remained little changed, suggesting the low re-sighting rate was not due to a loss of distinguishing features. Because of the low number of re-sighting we were not able to produce reliable estimates for the long-term regional population. However, for one 50 km diameter study area between the islands of Mull, Coll and Tiree, we were able to generate closed-population estimates for 6–9 day periods in 2010 of 985 (95% CI = 494–1683), and in 2011 of 201 (95% CI = 143–340). For the same 2011 period an open-population model generated a similar estimate of 213 (95% CI = 111–317). Otherwise the low rate and temporal patterning of re-sightings support the view that such local basking shark populations are temporary, dynamic groupings of individuals drawn from a much larger regional population than previously supposed. The study demonstrated the feasibility and limitations of photo-identification as a non-invasive technique for identifying individual basking sharks.

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<![CDATA[Direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 are revealed through shifts in phytoplankton, copepod development, and fatty acid accumulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c9405e7d5eed0c48453949b

Change in the nutritional quality of phytoplankton is a key mechanism through which ocean acidification can affect the function of marine ecosystems. Copepods play an important role transferring energy from phytoplankton to higher trophic levels, including fatty acids (FA)—essential macronutrients synthesized by primary producers that can limit zooplankton and fisheries production. We investigated the direct effects of pCO2 on phytoplankton and copepods in the laboratory, as well as the trophic transfer of effects of pCO2 on food quality. The marine cryptophyte Rhodomonas salina was cultured at 400, 800, and 1200 μatm pCO2 and fed to adult Acartia hudsonica acclimated to the same pCO2 levels. We examined changes in phytoplankton growth rate, cell size, carbon content, and FA content, and copepod FA content, grazing, respiration, egg production, hatching, and naupliar development. This single-factor experiment was repeated at 12°C and at 17°C. At 17°C, the FA content of R. salina responded non-linearly to elevated pCO2 with the greatest FA content at intermediate levels, which was mirrored in A. hudsonica; however, differences in ingestion rate indicate that copepods accumulated FA less efficiently at elevated pCO2. A. hudsonica nauplii developed faster at elevated pCO2 at 12°C in the absence of strong food quality effects, but not at 17°C when food quality varied among treatments. Our results demonstrate that changes to the nutritional quality of phytoplankton are not directly translated to their grazers, and that studies that include trophic links are key to unraveling how ocean acidification will drive changes in marine food webs.

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<![CDATA[Public Health Interventions for Aedes Control in the Time of Zikavirus– A Meta-Review on Effectiveness of Vector Control Strategies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadcab0ee8fa60bba3f8

Background

There is renewed interest in effective measures to control Zika and dengue vectors. A synthesis of published literature with a focus on the quality of evidence is warranted to determine the effectiveness of vector control strategies.

Methodology

We conducted a meta-review assessing the effectiveness of any Aedes control measure. We searched Scopus and Medline for relevant reviews through to May 2016. Titles, abstracts and full texts were assessed independently for inclusion by two authors. Data extraction was performed in duplicate and validity of the evidence was assessed using GRADE criteria.

Findings

13 systematic reviews that investigated the effect of control measures on entomological parameters or disease incidence were included. Biological controls seem to achieve better reduction of entomological indices than chemical controls, while educational campaigns can reduce breeding habitats. Integrated vector control strategies may not always increase effectiveness. The efficacy of any control programme is dependent on local settings, intervention type, resources and study duration, which may partly explain the varying degree of success between studies. Nevertheless, the quality of evidence was mostly low to very low due to poor reporting of study design, observational methodologies, heterogeneity, and indirect outcomes, thus hindering an evidence-based recommendation.

Conclusions

The evidence for the effectiveness of Aedes control measures is mixed. Chemical control, which is commonly used, does not appear to be associated with sustainable reductions of mosquito populations over time. Indeed, by contributing to a false sense of security, chemical control may reduce the effectiveness of educational interventions aimed at encouraging local people to remove mosquito breeding sites. Better quality studies of the impact of vector control interventions on the incidence of human infections with Dengue or Zika are still needed.

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<![CDATA[Low CO2 Sensitivity of Microzooplankton Communities in the Gullmar Fjord, Skagerrak: Evidence from a Long-Term Mesocosm Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac0ab0ee8fa60bb0a2f

Ocean acidification is considered as a crucial stressor for marine communities. In this study, we tested the effects of the IPCC RPC6.0 end-of-century acidification scenario on a natural plankton community in the Gullmar Fjord, Sweden, during a long-term mesocosm experiment from a spring bloom to a mid-summer situation. The focus of this study was on microzooplankton and its interactions with phytoplankton and mesozooplankton. The microzooplankton community was dominated by ciliates, especially small Strombidium sp., with the exception of the last days when heterotrophic dinoflagellates increased in abundance. We did not observe any effects of high CO2 on the community composition and diversity of microzooplankton. While ciliate abundance, biomass and growth rate were not affected by elevated CO2, we observed a positive effect of elevated CO2 on dinoflagellate abundances. Additionally, growth rates of dinoflagellates were significantly higher in the high CO2 treatments. Given the higher Chlorophyll a content measured under high CO2, our results point at mainly indirect effects of CO2 on microzooplankton caused by changes in phytoplankton standing stocks, in this case most likely an increase in small-sized phytoplankton of <8 μm. Overall, the results from the present study covering the most important part of the growing season indicate that coastal microzooplankton communities are rather robust towards realistic acidification scenarios.

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<![CDATA[Feeding behaviour of the nauplii of the marine calanoid copepod Paracartia grani Sars: Functional response, prey size spectrum, and effects of the presence of alternative prey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdbc81

Laboratory feeding experiments were conducted to study the functional response and prey size spectrum of the young naupliar stages of the calanoid copepod Paracartia grani Sars. Experiments were conducted on a range of microalgal prey of varying sizes and motility patterns. Significant feeding was found in all prey of a size range of 4.5–19.8 μm, with Holling type III functional responses observed for most prey types. The highest clearance rates occurred when nauplii fed on the dinoflagellate Heterocapsa sp. and the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii (respectively, 0.61 and 0.70 mL ind-1 d-1), suggesting an optimal prey:predator ratio of 0.09. Additional experiments were conducted to examine the effects of the presence of alternative prey (either Heterocapsa sp. or Gymnodinium litoralis) on the functional response to the haptophyte Isochrysis galbana. In the bialgal mixtures, clearance and ingestion rates of I. galbana along the range of the functional response were significantly reduced as a result of selectivity towards the larger, alternative prey. Paradoxically, relatively large prey trigger a perception response in the nauplii, but most likely such prey cannot be completely ingested and a certain degree of sloppy feeding may occur. Our results are further evidence of the complex prey-specific feeding interactions that are likely to occur in natural assemblages with several available prey types.

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<![CDATA[Towards Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture: Lessons from Caprellids (Crustacea: Amphipoda)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db16ab0ee8fa60bcd390

The search for alternative live feed organisms and the progression of Integrative Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) are currently being highly prioritised in EU strategies. Caprellids could potentially be an important exploitable resource in aquaculture due to their high levels of beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids, fast growing nature and widespread distribution. Furthermore, since they are mainly detritivorous, they could be excellent candidates for integration into IMTA systems, potentially benefitting from uneaten feed pellets and faeces released by cultured fish in fish farms and sea-cage structures. Despite this, there is a lack of experimental studies to: (i) test inexpensive diets for caprellids, such as detritus, (ii) develop sustainable caprellid culture techniques and (iii) include caprellids in IMTA systems. The main aim of this study was to determine whether detritus (D) in the form of fish faeces provided an adequate diet for caprellids in comparison to other traditional diets, such as Artemia nauplii (A) or phytoplankton (P). Adult survival rate was shown to be significantly higher for caprellids fed with D. Conversely, hatchlings had the highest survival rate with A, although the juvenile growth rate and number of moults was similar in the three diets. With regard to lipid composition, caprellids fed with A had higher concentrations of Triacylglycerols (TAG) and Phosphatidylcholine (PC) while those fed with P or D were richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially 22:6(n-3) (DHA). Interestingly, caprellids fed with D were also a rich source of 18:2(n-6) (LA), considered to be an essential fatty acid in vertebrates. It was found that detritus based mainly on fish faeces and uneaten feed pellets can be considered an adequate feed for adult caprellids, providing a source of both omega-3 (DHA) and omega-6 (LA) fatty acids. Hatchlings however seem to require an additional input of TAG and PC during juvenile stages to properly grow.

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<![CDATA[Rotenone Decreases Hatching Success in Brine Shrimp Embryos by Blocking Development: Implications for Zooplankton Egg Banks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafbab0ee8fa60bc4ccf

While many zooplankton species recover quickly after the treatment of water resources with the piscicide, rotenone, some fail to reach pretreatment population density or, in rare cases, do not reappear at all. The variable impact of rotenone on zooplankton populations could stem from differences in the capacity of species to switch entirely to anaerobic catabolic pathways in the presence of rotenone, which blocks mitochondrial electron transport. Alternatively, variable responses among species could originate from differences in permeability of dormant life-stages to lipophilic chemicals like rotenone. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of rotenone on development, emergence and hatching of zooplankton embryos that lack both the anaerobic capacity to develop in the presence of rotenone and a permeability barrier to prevent the entry of rotenone during dormancy. Post-diapause embryos of the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, were employed as a model system, because they are permeable to lipophilic compounds when dechorionated and require aerobic conditions to support development. Early development in this species is also well characterized in the literature. Brine shrimp embryos were exposed to rotenone while development was either slowed by chilling or suspended by anoxia. Development, emergence and hatching were then observed in rotenone-free artificial seawater. The data presented demonstrate that rotenone freely diffuses across the embryonic cuticle in a matter of hours, and prevents development and emergence after brief exposures to ecologically relevant concentrations (0.025–0.5 mg L-1) of the piscicide. Neither the removal of rotenone from the environment, nor the removal of embryonic water with a hypertonic solution, are sufficient to reverse this block on development and emergence. These data indicate that rotenone could impair recruitment from egg banks for species of zooplankton that lack both an embryonic barrier to the entry of lipophilic compounds and the anaerobic capacity to develop when NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase activity is inhibited by rotenone.

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<![CDATA[Pontellid copepods, Labidocera spp., affected by ocean acidification: A field study at natural CO2 seeps]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf48d

CO2 seeps in coral reefs were used as natural laboratories to study the impacts of ocean acidification on the pontellid copepod, Labidocera spp. Pontellid abundances were reduced by ∼70% under high-CO2 conditions. Biological parameters and substratum preferences of the copepods were explored to determine the underlying causes of such reduced abundances. Stage- and sex-specific copepod lengths, feeding ability, and egg development were unaffected by ocean acidification, thus changes in these physiological parameters were not the driving factor for reduced abundances under high-CO2 exposure. Labidocera spp. are demersal copepods, hence they live amongst reef substrata during the day and emerge into the water column at night. Deployments of emergence traps showed that their preferred reef substrata at control sites were coral rubble, macro algae, and turf algae. However, under high-CO2 conditions they no longer had an association with any specific substrata. Results from this study indicate that even though the biology of a copepod might be unaffected by high-CO2, Labidocera spp. are highly vulnerable to ocean acidification.

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<![CDATA[Feeding Ecology of Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Norwegian Spring-Spawning Herring and Blue Whiting in the Norwegian Sea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db1dab0ee8fa60bce9fc

The Norwegian spring-spawning (NSS) herring (Clupea harengus), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) and Northeast Atlantic (NEA) mackerel (Scomber scombrus) are extremely abundant pelagic planktivores that feed in the Norwegian Sea (NS) during spring and summer. This study investigated the feeding ecology and diet composition of these commercially important fish stocks on the basis of biological data, including an extensive set of stomach samples in combination with hydrographical data, zooplankton samples and acoustic abundance data from 12 stock monitoring surveys carried out in 2005–2010. Mackerel were absent during the spring, but had generally high feeding overlap with herring in the summer, with a diet mainly based on calanoid copepods, especially Calanus finmarchicus, as well as a similar diet width. Stomach fullness in herring diminished from spring to summer and feeding incidence was lower than that of mackerel in summer. However, stomach fullness did not differ between the two species, indicating that herring maintain an equally efficient pattern of feeding as mackerel in summer, but on a diet that is less dominated by copepods and is more reliant on larger prey. Blue whiting tended to have a low dietary overlap with mackerel and herring, with larger prey such as euphausiids and amphipods dominating, and stomach fullness and feeding incidence increasing with length. For all the species, feeding incidence increased with decreasing temperature, and for mackerel so did stomach fullness, indicating that feeding activity is highest in areas associated with colder water masses. Significant annual effects on diet composition and feeding-related variables suggested that the three species are able to adapt to different food and environmental conditions. These annual effects are likely to have an important impact on the predation pressure on different plankton groups and the carrying capacity of individual systems, and emphasise the importance of regular monitoring of pelagic fish diets.

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<![CDATA[Ocean Acidification Affects the Phyto-Zoo Plankton Trophic Transfer Efficiency]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad8ab0ee8fa60bb8f18

The critical role played by copepods in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry warrants an understanding of how these animals may respond to ocean acidification (OA). Whilst an appreciation of the potential direct effects of OA, due to elevated pCO2, on copepods is improving, little is known about the indirect impacts acting via bottom-up (food quality) effects. We assessed, for the first time, the chronic effects of direct and/or indirect exposures to elevated pCO2 on the behaviour, vital rates, chemical and biochemical stoichiometry of the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa. Bottom-up effects of elevated pCO2 caused species-specific biochemical changes to the phytoplanktonic feed, which adversely affected copepod population structure and decreased recruitment by 30%. The direct impact of elevated pCO2 caused gender-specific respiratory responses in A.tonsa adults, stimulating an enhanced respiration rate in males (> 2-fold), and a suppressed respiratory response in females when coupled with indirect elevated pCO2 exposures. Under the combined indirect+direct exposure, carbon trophic transfer efficiency from phytoplankton-to-zooplankton declined to < 50% of control populations, with a commensurate decrease in recruitment. For the first time an explicit role was demonstrated for biochemical stoichiometry in shaping copepod trophic dynamics. The altered biochemical composition of the CO2-exposed prey affected the biochemical stoichiometry of the copepods, which could have ramifications for production of higher tropic levels, notably fisheries. Our work indicates that the control of phytoplankton and the support of higher trophic levels involving copepods have clear potential to be adversely affected under future OA scenarios.

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<![CDATA[Evaluating the combined effects of ballast water management and trade dynamics on transfers of marine organisms by ships]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc0b6

Global trade by merchant ships is a leading mechanism for the unintentional transfer of marine organisms, including non-indigenous species, to bays and estuaries worldwide. To reduce the likelihood of new invasions, ships are increasingly being required to manage their ballast water (BW) prior to discharge in coastal waters. In the United States, most overseas arrivals have been required to manage BW discharge since 2004, primarily through ballast water exchange (BWE), which flushes out ballast tanks in the open ocean (>200 miles from shore). Studies have found BWE to generally reduce the abundance of organisms, and the amount of water exchanged has been estimated at 96–100%. Despite its widespread use, the overall effect of this management strategy on net propagule supply through time has not been explored. Here, temporal changes in zooplankton concentrations and the volume of BW discharged in Chesapeake Bay, U.S. were evaluated, comparing pre-management era and post-management era time periods. Chesapeake Bay is a large port system that receives extensive BW discharge, especially from bulk cargo vessels (bulkers) that export coal overseas. For bulkers arriving from overseas, mean zooplankton concentrations of total and coastal indicator taxa in BW did not decline between pre- (1993–2000) and post management (2012–2013) eras, when controlling for season and sampling method. Moreover, bulkers discharged 21 million tonnes (82% of total for Chesapeake Bay) of overseas BW in 2013, representing a 374% increase in volume when compared to 2005. The combination of BW discharge volume and zooplankton concentration data indicates that (a) net propagule supply by bulkers has increased since BWE began in Chesapeake Bay; and (b) changes in vessel behaviour and trade have contributed strongly to this outcome. Specifically, the coal-driven increase in BW discharge volume from 2005–2013, concurrent with the onset of BWE regulations, worked to counteract intended results from BW management. A long-term analysis of bulker arrivals (1994–2013) reveals a 20-year minimum in arrival numbers in 2000, just when the implementation of BWE began. This study underscores the need to consider shifts in trade patterns, in order to advance and evaluate effective management strategies for biological invasions.

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<![CDATA[Mitochondrial DNA Analyses Indicate High Diversity, Expansive Population Growth and High Genetic Connectivity of Vent Copepods (Dirivultidae) across Different Oceans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da01ab0ee8fa60b744a9

Communities in spatially fragmented deep-sea hydrothermal vents rich in polymetallic sulfides could soon face major disturbance events due to deep-sea mineral mining, such that unraveling patterns of gene flow between hydrothermal vent populations will be an important step in the development of conservation policies. Indeed, the time required by deep-sea populations to recover following habitat perturbations depends both on the direction of gene flow and the number of migrants available for re-colonization after disturbance. In this study we compare nine dirivultid copepod species across various geological settings. We analyze partial nucleotide sequences of the mtCOI gene and use divergence estimates (FST) and haplotype networks to infer intraspecific population connectivity between vent sites. Furthermore, we evaluate contrasting scenarios of demographic population expansion/decline versus constant population size (using, for example, Tajima’s D). Our results indicate high diversity, population expansion and high connectivity of all copepod populations in all oceans. For example, haplotype diversity values range from 0.89 to 1 and FST values range from 0.001 to 0.11 for Stygiopontius species from the Central Indian Ridge, Mid Atlantic Ridge, East Pacific Rise, and Eastern Lau Spreading Center. We suggest that great abundance and high site occupancy by these species favor high genetic diversity. Two scenarios both showed similarly high connectivity: fast spreading centers with little distance between vent fields and slow spreading centers with greater distance between fields. This unexpected result may be due to some distinct frequency of natural disturbance events, or to aspects of individual life histories that affect realized rates of dispersal. However, our statistical performance analyses showed that at least 100 genomic regions should be sequenced to ensure accurate estimates of migration rate. Our demography parameters demonstrate that dirivultid populations are generally large and continuously undergoing population growth. Benthic and pelagic species abundance data support these findings.

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