ResearchPad - marine-biology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Diversity and paleoenvironmental implications of an elasmobranch assemblage from the Oligocene–Miocene boundary of Ecuador]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12838 The occurrence and diversity of elasmobranchs from the Oligocene–Miocene boundary from Tropical America is poorly known in comparison with the paleodiversity from younger Neogene intervals of the region. Here we describe a new elasmobranch assemblage from the rich fossil site of Montañita-Olón (Dos Bocas Formation, Santa Elena, Ecuador), where other vertebrates have already been described: for example, sea turtles and cetaceans. We report a total of 27 elasmobranch taxa, 19 of which are new fossil records for Ecuador, 10 new records for the Central Eastern Pacific and four new records for South America. Additionally, in order to reconstruct the environment where these marine remains were deposited, we performed abundance, paleobathymetric and habitat preference analyses, concluding that they were likely deposited in an outer neritic (open shelf) environment. The study of Oligocene and early Miocene marine elasmobranchs faunas in Tropical America is key to addressing the issues in the evolutionary history of this group.

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<![CDATA[Sustainability management of short-lived freshwater fish in human-altered ecosystems should focus on adult survival]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7859 Fish populations globally are susceptible to endangerment through exploitation and habitat loss. We present theoretical simulations to explore how reduced adult survival (age truncation) might affect short-lived freshwater fish species in human-altered contemporary environments. Our simulations evaluate two hypothetical "average fish" and five example fish species of age 1 or age 2 maturity. From a population equilibrium baseline representing a natural, unaltered environment we impose systematic reductions in adult survival and quantify how age truncation affects the causes of variation in population growth rate. We estimate the relative contributions to population growth rate arising from simulated temporal variation in age-specific vital rates and population structure. At equilibrium and irrespective of example species, population structure (first adult age class) and survival probability of the first two adult age classes are the most important determinants of population growth. As adult survival decreases, the first reproductive age class becomes increasingly important to variation in population growth. All simulated examples show the same general pattern of change with age truncation as known for exploited, longer-lived fish species in marine and freshwater environments. This implies age truncation is a general potential concern for fish biodiversity across life history strategies and ecosystems. Managers of short-lived, freshwater fishes in contemporary environments often focus on supporting reproduction to ensure population persistence. However, a strong focus on water management to support reproduction may reduce adult survival. Sustainability management needs a focus on mitigating adult mortality in human-altered ecosystems. A watershed spatial extent embracing land and water uses may be necessary to identify and mitigate causes of age truncation in freshwater species. Achieving higher adult survival will require paradigm transformations in society and government about water management priorities.

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<![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[Individual behavioral type captured by a Bayesian model comparison of cap making by sponge crabs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8336 ‘Animal personality’ is considered to be developed through complex interactions of an individual with its surrounding environment. How can we quantify the ‘personality’ of an individual? Quantifying intra- and inter-individual variability of behavior, or individual behavioral type, appears to be a prerequisite in the study of animal personality. We propose a statistical method from a predictive point of view to measure the appropriateness of our assumption of ‘individual’ behavior in repeatedly measured behavioral data from several individuals. For a model case, we studied the sponge crab Lauridromia dehaani known to make and carry a ‘cap’ from a natural sponge for camouflage. Because a cap is most likely to be rebuilt and replaced repeatedly, we hypothesized that each individual crab would grow a unique behavioral type and it would be observed under an experimentally controlled environmental condition. To test the hypothesis, we conducted behavioral experiments and employed a new Bayesian model-based comparison method to examine whether crabs have individual behavioral types in the cap making behavior. Crabs were given behavioral choices by using artificial sponges of three different sizes. We modeled the choice of sponges, size of the trimmed part of a cap, size of the cavity of a cap, and the latency to produce a cap, as random variables in 26 models, including hierarchical models specifying the behavioral types. In addition, we calculated the marginal-level widely applicable information criterion (mWAIC) values for hierarchical models to evaluate and compared them with the non-hierarchical models from the predictive point of view. As a result, the crabs of less than about 9 cm in size were found to make caps from the sponges. The body size explained the behavioral variables namely, choice, trimmed cap characteristics, and cavity size, but not latency. Furthermore, we captured the behavioral type as a probabilistic distribution structure of the behavioral data by comparing WAIC. Our statistical approach is not limited to behavioral data but is also applicable to physiological or morphological data when examining whether some group structure exists behind fluctuating empirical data.

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<![CDATA[Drivers of beta diversity in modern and ancient reef-associated soft-bottom environments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8320 Beta diversity, the compositional variation among communities, is often associated with environmental gradients. Other drivers of beta diversity include stochastic processes, priority effects, predation, or competitive exclusion. Temporal turnover may also explain differences in faunal composition between fossil assemblages. To assess the drivers of beta diversity in reef-associated soft-bottom environments, we investigate community patterns in a Middle to Late Triassic reef basin assemblage from the Cassian Formation in the Dolomites, Northern Italy, and compare results with a Recent reef basin assemblage from the Northern Bay of Safaga, Red Sea, Egypt. We evaluate beta diversity with regard to age, water depth, and spatial distance, and compare the results with a null model to evaluate the stochasticity of these differences. Using pairwise proportional dissimilarity, we find very high beta diversity for the Cassian Formation (0.91 ± 0.02) and slightly lower beta diversity for the Bay of Safaga (0.89 ± 0.04). Null models show that stochasticity only plays a minor role in determining faunal differences. Spatial distance is also irrelevant. Contrary to expectations, there is no tendency of beta diversity to decrease with water depth. Although water depth has frequently been found to be a key factor in determining beta diversity, we find that it is not the major driver in these reef-associated soft-bottom environments. We postulate that priority effects and the biotic structuring of the sediment may be key determinants of beta diversity.

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<![CDATA[Time matters: genetic composition and evaluation of effective population size in temperate coastal fish species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3c941b76-3ff8-49b6-a56c-740a41f92c9a Extensive knowledge on the genetic characterization of marine organisms has been assembled, mainly concerning the spatial distribution and structuring of populations. Temporal monitoring assesses not only the stability in genetic composition but also its trajectory over time, providing critical information for the accurate forecast of changes in genetic diversity of marine populations, particularly important for both fisheries and endangered species management. We assessed fluctuations in genetic composition among different sampling periods in the western Portuguese shore in three fish species.MethodsWhite seabream Diplodus sargus, sand smelt Atherina presbyter and shanny Lipophrys pholis were chosen, because of their genetic patterns in distinct ecological environments, insight into historical and contemporary factors influencing population effective size (Ne), and degree of commercial exploitation. Samples were obtained near Lisbon between 2003 and 2014 and screened for genetic variation with mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Analyses included genealogies, genetic diversities, temporal structures and contemporary Ne.ResultsFor mtDNA no temporal structure was detected, while for nDNA significant differences were recorded between some sampling periods for the shanny and the sand smelt. Haplotype networks revealed deep genealogies, with various levels of diversification. The shanny revealed a smaller Ne/generation when compared to the other species, which, in turn, revealed no evidence of genetic drift for most study periods. These results highlight the fact that temporal variations in genetic pool composition should be considered when evaluating the population structure of fish species with long distance dispersal, which are more vulnerable to recruitment fluctuations. ]]> <![CDATA[Substrate rugosity and temperature matters: patterns of benthic diversity at tropical intertidal reefs in the SW Atlantic]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7c59bde4-0dbb-4a33-a228-9eb85bb49e49

Modeling and forecasting ocean ecosystems in a changing world will require advances in observational efforts to monitor marine biodiversity. One of the observational challenges in coastal reef ecosystems is to quantify benthic and climate interactions which are key to community dynamics across habitats. Habitat complexity (i.e., substrate rugosity) on intertidal reefs can be an important variable explaining benthic diversity and taxa composition, but the association between substrate and seasonal variability is poorly understood on lateritic reefs in the South Atlantic. We asked if benthic assemblages on intertidal reefs with distinct substrate rugosity would follow similar seasonal patterns of succession following meteo-oceanographic variability in a tropical coastal area of Brazil. We combined an innovative 3D imaging for measuring substrate rugosity with satellite monitoring to monitor spatio-temporal patterns of benthic assemblages. The dataset included monthly in situ surveys of substrate cover and taxon diversity and richness, temporal variability in meteo-oceanographic conditions, and reef structural complexity from four sites on the Eastern Marine Ecoregion of Brazil. Additionally, correlation coefficients between temperature and both benthic diversity and community composition from one year of monitoring were used to project biodiversity trends under future warming scenarios. Our results revealed that benthic diversity and composition on intertidal reefs are strongly regulated by surface rugosity and sea surface temperatures, which control the dominance of macroalgae or corals. Intertidal reef biodiversity was positively correlated with reef rugosity which supports previous assertions of higher regional intertidal diversity on lateritic reefs that offer increased substrate complexity. Predicted warming temperatures in the Eastern Marine Ecoregion of Brazil will likely lead to a dominance of macroalgae taxa over the lateritic reefs and lower overall benthic diversity. Our findings indicate that rugosity is not only a useful tool for biodiversity mapping in reef intertidal ecosystems but also that spatial differences in rugosity would lead to very distinct biogeographic and temporal patterns. This study offers a unique baseline of benthic biodiversity on coastal marine habitats that is complementary to worldwide efforts to improve monitoring and management of coastal reefs.

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<![CDATA[SNP Identification by Transcriptome Sequencing and Candidate Gene-Based Association Analysis for Heat Tolerance in the Bay Scallop Argopecten irradians]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da90ab0ee8fa60b9fe9f

The northern bay scallop Argopecten irradians irradians (Lamarck) and the southern bay scallop Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say) were introduced into China in the 1980s and 1990s, and are now major aquaculture molluscs in China. Here, we report the transcriptome sequencing of the two subspecies and the subsequent association analysis on candidate gene on the trait of heat tolerance. In total, RNA from six tissues of 67 and 42 individuals of northern and southern bay scallops, respectively, were used and 55.5 and 34.9 million raw reads were generated, respectively. There were 82,267 unigenes produced in total, of which 32,595 were annotated. Altogether, 32,206 and 23,312 high-quality SNPs were identified for northern and southern bay scallops, respectively. For case-control analysis, two intercrossed populations were heat stress treated, and both heat-susceptible and heat-resistant individuals were collected. According to annotation and SNP allele frequency analysis, 476 unigenes were selected, and 399 pairs of primers were designed. Genotyping was conducted using the high-resolution melting method, and Fisher’s exact test was performed for allele frequency comparison between the heat-susceptible and heat-resistant groups. SNP all-53308-760 T/C showed a significant difference in allele frequency between the heat-susceptible and heat-resistant groups. Notably, considerable difference in allele frequency at this locus was also observed between the sequenced natural populations. These results suggest that SNP all-53308-760 T/C may be related to the heat tolerance of the bay scallop. Moreover, quantitative expression analysis revealed that the expression level of all-53308 was negatively correlated with heat tolerance of the bay scallop.

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<![CDATA[Two species of Thoracostomopsidae (Nematoda: Enoplida) from Jeju Island, South Korea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd6f075e6-61c4-4ffd-9fc5-9d3a90d27b8d

During a survey of intertidal zones at beaches on Jeju Island, two species belonging to the family Thoracostomopsidae were discovered. One new species, Enoploides koreanus sp. nov. and one known species, Epacanthion hirsutum Shi & Xu, 2016 are reported. Along with morphological analysis, mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase c subunit 1 (mtCOI) sequences and 18S rRNA sequences of the species were also obtained and used to check relative p-distance and phylogenetic positions. While most species of Enoploides have long spicules, the new species belongs to a group of Enoploides with short spicules < 150 µm). Of the seven species with short spicules, the new species is most closely related to E. disparilis Sergeeva, 1974. They both have similar body length, fairly similar sized and shaped spicules with small gubernaculum running parallel to distal end of spicule, and an index value of b. The new species can be distinguished from E. disparilis by having pre-anal supplementary organ with short conical tail, while E. disparilis lacks pre-anal supplementary organ and has a long conico-cylindrical tail. Along with the description of the new species, the genus Enoploides Ssaweljev, 1912 is bibliographically reviewed and revised. Of 45 species described to date, 27 are now considered valid, 16 species inquirendae due to inadequate descriptions and ambiguity of the material examined, along with two cases of nomen nudum. With this review, we provide an updated diagnosis and list of valid species, a tabular key comparing diagnostic characters of all valid species, and a new complete key to species. One known species, Epacanthion hirsutum Shi & Xu, 2016, is reported in Korea for the first time. The morphology agrees well with the original description provided by Shi & Xu, 2016. As they had already reviewed the genus at the time of reporting four Epacanthion species, we provide only a description, depiction, and measurements for comparison purposes.

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<![CDATA[A biogeographic framework of octopod species diversification: the role of the Isthmus of Panama]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndd70aa2f-b989-489e-833c-ef0decfb9b77

The uplift of the Isthmus of Panama (IP) created a land bridge between Central and South America and caused the separation of the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans, resulting in profound changes in the environmental and oceanographic conditions. To evaluate how these changes have influenced speciation processes in octopods, fragments of two mitochondrial (Cytochrome oxidase subunit I, COI and 16S rDNA) and two nuclear (Rhodopsin and Elongation Factor-1α, EF-1α) genes were amplified from samples from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. One biogeographical and four fossil calibration priors were used within a relaxed Bayesian phylogenetic analysis framework to estimate divergence times among cladogenic events. Reconstruction of the ancestral states in phylogenies was used to infer historical biogeography of the lineages and species dispersal routes. The results revealed three well-supported clades of transisthmian octopus sister species pair/complex (TSSP/TSSC) and two additional clades showing a low probability of species diversification, having been influenced by the IP. Divergence times estimated in the present study revealed that octopod TSSP/TSSC from the Atlantic and Pacific diverged between the Middle Miocene and Early Pliocene (mean range = 5–18 Ma). Given that oceanographic changes caused by the uplift of the IP were so strong as to affect the global climate, we suggest that octopod TSSP/TSSC diverged because of these physical and environmental barriers, even before the complete uplift of the IP 3 Ma, proposed by the Late Pliocene model. The results obtained in this phylogenetic reconstruction also indicate that the octopus species pairs in each ocean share a recent common ancestor from the Pacific Ocean.

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<![CDATA[Morphology and molecular phylogeny of three new deep-sea species of Chrysogorgia (Cnidaria, Octocorallia) from seamounts in the tropical Western Pacific Ocean]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne720f24d-d16d-4a35-bd0e-339be6ff80f2

Three new species of Chrysogorgia were discovered from seamounts in the tropical Western Pacific Ocean. Chrysogorgia dendritica sp. nov. and Chrysogorgia fragilis sp. nov. were collected from the Kocebu Guyot of the Magellan Seamount chain with the water depth of 1,821 m and 1,279–1,321 m, respectively, and Chrysogorgia gracilis sp. nov. was collected from a seamount adjacent to the Mariana Trench with the water depth of 298 m. They all belong to the Chrysogorgia “group A, Spiculosae” with rods distributed in body wall and tentacles, and differ from all congeners except C. abludo Pante & Watling, 2012 by having a tree-shaped colony (vs. bottlebrush-shaped, planar or biflabellate). Chrysogorgia dendritica sp. nov. is unique in having a monopodial stem, the 1/3L branching sequence and the amoeba-shaped sclerites (sclerites branched toward to many directions) at the body bases of polyps. Chrysogorgia fragilis sp. nov. is most similar to C. abludo, but differs by the regular 1/3L branching sequence and elongate flat scales in coenenchyme. Chrysogorgia gracilis sp. nov. is easily separated from congeners by the 1/4L branching sequence, the absence of sclerites in the basal body wall, and the very sparse scales in coenenchyme. Based on the phylogenetic and genetic distance analyses of mtMutS gene, all the available Chrysogorgia species were separated into two main groups: one includes C. binata, C. cf. stellata and C. chryseis, which have two or more fans emerging from a short main stem (bi- or multi-flabellate colony); the other one includes all the species with the branching patterns as a single ascending spiral (clockwise or counterclockwise, bottlebrush-shaped colony), a fan (planar colony) and a bush of branches perched on top of a long straight stem (tree-shaped colony). Additionally, the tree-shaped colony represents a new branching pattern in Chrysogorgia, and therefore we extend the generic diagnosis.

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<![CDATA[Genetic diversity and population structure of Meretrix petechialis in China revealed by sequence-related amplified polymorphism markers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N761bea7b-e839-4545-a14c-09fa4416a841

Genetic variation in nine stocks of Meretrix petechialis collected from China was analyzed using sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers. Eight primer pairs produced 132 polymorphic loci with an average of 16.5 loci per primer pair. A population from Jiangsu had the highest percentage of polymorphic loci at 27.27%, suggesting that these resources had a rich genetic diversity. The Nei’s gene diversity of the nine populations ranged from 0.0647 to 0.0793; a population from Shandong was the lowest and a population from North Korea the highest. The Shannon’s information index was between 0.1023 and 0.1202, with the lowest in the Shandong population and the highest in the Jiangsu population. The Nei’s unbiased genetic distance between the nine populations was 0.0243–0.0570 and the genetic similarity was 0.9446–0.9760; the genetic distance between Guangxi and Shandong populations was the furthest (0.0570) and the genetic distance between Shandong and Jiangsu populations was the closest (0.0243). Nei’s gene diversity analysis indicated that the genetic variance was mainly found within individual geographical populations, and the analysis of molecular variance revealed low but significant genetic differentiation among local and regional populations. The limited gene flow (Nm = 0.555) was inferred as a major reason for the extent of genetic differentiation in M. petechialis. The results obtained here indicated that M. petechialis have high degree of genetic diversity and the potential of further breeding with excellent germplasm resources. This study provides a scientific basis for the protection of germplasm resources and the breeding of M. petechialis.

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<![CDATA[How many ontogenetic points are needed to accurately describe the ontogeny of a cephalopod conch? A case study of the modern nautilid Nautilus pompilius]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nded39f42-affa-42d2-9b95-b45788143da5

Recent advancements in tomographic techniques allow for detailed morphological analysis of various organisms, which has proved difficult in the past. However, the time and cost required for the post-processing of highly resolved tomographic data are considerable. Cephalopods are an ideal group to study ontogeny using tomography as the entire life history is preserved within a conch. Although an increasing number of studies apply tomography to cephalopod conchs, the number of conch measurements needed to adequately characterize ontogeny remains unknown. Therefore, the effect of different ontogenetic sampling densities on the accuracy of the resultant growth trajectories needs to be investigated. Here, we reconstruct ontogenetic trajectories of a single conch of Nautilus pompilius using different numbers of ontogenetic points to assess the resulting accuracies. To this end, conch parameters were measured every 10°, 30°, 45°, 90°, and 180°. Results reveal that the overall patterns of reconstructed growth trajectories are nearly identical. Relatively large errors appear to occur where growth changes occur, such as the points of hatching and the onset of morphogenetic countdown before the attainment of maturity. In addition, a previously undocumented growth change before hatching was detected when measurements were taken every 10°, 30°, and 45°, though this growth change was obscured when fewer measurements were used (90° and 180°). The lower number of measurements also masks the subtle fluctuating patterns of conch parameters in middle ontogeny. We conclude that the measurements of a conch every 30° and 45° permit a reasonably precise description of conch ontogeny in nautilids. Since ammonoids were likely more responsive to external stimuli than to nautilids, a much denser sampling may be required for ammonoids.

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<![CDATA[Cirripectes matatakaro, a new species of combtooth blenny from the Central Pacific, illuminates the origins of the Hawaiian fish fauna]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N671aed45-2c4e-4dde-bb24-bc1bd53d1a1e

Included among the currently recognized 23 species of combtooth blennies of the genus Cirripectes (Blenniiformes: Blenniidae) of the Indo-Pacific are the Hawaiian endemic C. vanderbilti, and the widespread C. variolosus. During the course of a phylogeographic study of these species, a third species was detected, herein described as C. matatakaro. The new species is distinguished primarily by the configuration of the pore structures posterior to the lateral centers of the transverse row of nuchal cirri in addition to 12 meristic characters and nine morphometric characters documented across 72 specimens and ∼4.2% divergence in mtDNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I. The new species is currently known only from the Marquesas, Gambier, Pitcairns, Tuamotus, and Australs in the South Pacific, and the Northern Line Islands and possibly Johnston Atoll south of Hawaiʻi. Previous researchers speculated that the geographically widespread C. variolosus was included in an unresolved trichotomy with the Hawaiian endemic and other species based on a morphological phylogeny. Our molecular-phylogenetic analysis resolves many of the previously unresolved relationships within the genus and reveals C. matatakaro as the sister lineage to the Hawaiian C. vanderbilti. The restricted geographic distribution of Cirripectes matatakaro combines with its status as sister to C. vanderbilti to indicate a southern pathway of colonization into Hawaiʻi.

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<![CDATA[Contemporary diets of walruses in Bristol Bay, Alaska suggest temporal variability in benthic community structure]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne123e198-c4f9-4975-a9ff-5bc1be8110db

Background

Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) are a conspicuous and important component of the Bristol Bay ecosystem and human social systems, but very little is known about walrus ecology in this region, principally their feeding ecology. The present work provides contemporary data on the diets of walruses at four haulout locations throughout Bristol Bay between 2014 and 2018.

Methods

We analyzed scat and gastrointestinal tract samples from these animals using quantitative polymerase chain reaction to amplify prey DNA, which allowed for diet estimates based on frequencies of prey item occurrence and on the relative importance of dietary items as determined from DNA threshold cycle scores.

Results

Diets were highly diverse at all locations, but with some variation in composition that may be related to the time of year that samples were collected (summer vs. autumn), or to spatial variability in the distribution of prey. Overall, polychaetes and tunicates had the highest frequencies of occurrence and relative abundances in 2014–15, but a major change in diet appears to have occurred by 2017–18. While some sample sizes were small, diets in these later years contrasted sharply, with a greater prevalence of sea cucumbers and mollusks, and reduced importance of decapods and fishes compared to the earlier years. Prey identified in scat samples from one collection site also contrasted sharply with those reported from the same location in 1981. The apparent temporal shifts in walrus prey may represent a changing benthic ecosystem due to warming waters in recent decades.

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<![CDATA[Alternative dietary protein and water temperature influence the skin and gut microbial communities of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N07b2900a-9072-426e-a9bb-74df3aabf27d

Fish skin and gut microbiomes contribute to host health and growth and are often significantly different in aquaculture-reared fish compared to wild fish. Determining how factors associated with aquaculture, including altered diet and abiotic conditions, affect the microbiome will assist with optimizing farming practices and non-invasively assessing fish health. Here, juvenile yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) housed at optimal (22 °C) and non-optimal (26 °C) water temperature were fed a fishmeal control diet or the same diet substituted with 30% soy-protein concentrate (SPC) in order to investigate impacts on host health and the microbial community composition of the skin mucosa, gut mucosa and digesta. Each of these sites was observed to have a distinct microbiome composition. The combination of SPC and housing at 26 °C significantly reduced weight gain in yellowtail kingfish and affected immune parameters. The overall microbial composition and relative abundance of specific operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was also significantly altered by inclusion of SPC at 26 °C, with a notable increase in an OTU identified as Photobacterium in the skin mucosa and digesta. Increased relative abundance of Photobacterium sp. was significantly correlated with reduced levels of digesta myeloperoxidase in yellowtail kingfish; a recognized innate immunity defense mechanism. The changes in the microbial communities of yellowtail kingfish fed a diet containing 30% SPC at 26 °C highlights the importance of considering the interactive effects of diet and environmental factors on microbiome health in farmed yellowtail kingfish.

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<![CDATA[Integrative analysis reveals pathways associated with sex reversal in Cynoglossus semilaevis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf5a8c16b-4568-4660-a17c-2c0aa4ca6181

Sex reversal is a complex biological phenomenon exhibited by Cynoglossus semilaevis. Some genetic females may irreversibly convert to pseudomales, thus increasing aquaculture costs because males grow much more slowly than females. In this study, an integrative analysis of transcriptome and proteome was performed to compare differences in gene and protein expression in females and pseudomales after gonad differentiation in C. semilaevis. Based on RNA-Seq results, 1893 genes showed differences in expression at the transcript level between females and pseudomales. Of these differentially expressed genes (DEGs), zona pellucida sperm-binding protein 4-like (LOC103393374 , ZP4), zona pellucida sperm-binding protein 4-like (LOC103396071, ZP4) and forkhead box L2 (foxl2) were highly expressed in females and doublesex and mab-3 related transcription factor 1(dmrt1) and doublesex and mab-3 related transcription factor 3 (dmrt3) were highly expressed in pseudomales. GO enrichment analysis results indicate that wnt signaling pathways and oocyte maturation are two terms enriched in female. At the protein level, Tandem Mass Tags analysis revealed that 324 proteins differed in their relative abundance between pseudomales and females. KEGG analysis found that pseudo-highly expressed proteins were enriched in the ubiquitin mediated proteolysis pathway. For integrative analysis, the Spearman correlation coefficient between the transcriptome and proteome was 0.59. Among 52 related genes, 46 DEGs (88%) were well matched in their levels of change in protein abundance. These findings reveal major active pathways in female and pseudomale gonads after sex reversal and provide new insights into molecular mechanisms associated with sex reversal regulatory network.

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<![CDATA[Trophic niches of a seabird assemblage in Bass Strait, south-eastern Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N469ade9c-82e0-4041-a3a1-877a517bb004

The foraging niches of seabirds are driven by a variety of factors, including competition for prey that promotes divergence in trophic niches. Bass Strait, south-eastern Australia, is a key region for seabirds, with little penguins Eudyptula minor, short-tailed shearwaters Ardenna tenuirostris, fairy prions Pachyptila turtur and common diving-petrels Pelecanoides urinatrix being particularly abundant in the region. The trophic niches of these species were investigated using isotopic values in whole blood and by identifying prey remains in stomach contents. The four species occupied different isotopic niches that varied among years, seasons and regions. Little penguins consumed mainly fish whereas the three procellariforms primarily consumed coastal krill Nyctiphanes australis. The dietary similarities between the procellariforms suggest that food resources are segregated in other ways, with interspecific differences in isotope niches possibly reflecting differential consumption of key prey, divergent foraging locations and depth, and differences in breeding phenology. Because oceanographic changes predicted to occur due to climate change may result in reduced coastal krill availability, adversely affecting these seabird predators, further information on foraging zones and feeding behaviour of small procellariform species is needed to elucidate more fully the segregation of foraging niches, the capacity of seabirds to adapt to climate change and the potential for interspecific competition in the region.

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<![CDATA[From a calf’s perspective: humpback whale nursing behavior on two US feeding grounds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7f41b501-79c9-4504-ad96-a67a9cc86ff3

Nursing influences growth rate and overall health of mammals; however, the behavior is difficult to study in wild cetaceans because it occurs below the surface and can thus be misidentified from surface observations. Nursing has been observed in humpback whales on the breeding and calving grounds, but the behavior remains unstudied on the feeding grounds. We instrumented three dependent calves (four total deployments) with combined video and 3D-accelerometer data loggers (CATS) on two United States feeding grounds to document nursing events. Two associated mothers were also tagged to determine if behavior diagnostic of nursing was evident in the mother’s movement. Animal-borne video was manually analyzed and the average duration of successful nursing events was 23 s (±7 sd, n = 11). Nursing occurred at depths between 4.1–64.4 m (along the seafloor) and in close temporal proximity to foraging events by the mothers, but could not be predicted solely by relative positions of mother and calf. When combining all calf deployments, successful nursing was documented eleven times; totaling only 0.3% of 21.0 hours of video. During nursing events, calves had higher overall dynamic body acceleration (ODBA) and increased fluke-stroke rate (FSR) compared to non-nursing segments (Mixed effect models, ODBA: F1,107 = 13.57756, p = 0.0004, FSR: F1,107 = 32.31018, p < 0.0001). In contrast, mothers had lower ODBA and reduced FSR during nursing events compared to non-nursing segments. These data provide the first characterization of accelerometer data of humpback whale nursing confirmed by animal-borne video tags and the first analysis of nursing events on feeding grounds. This is an important step in understanding the energetic consequences of lactation while foraging.

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<![CDATA[Seasonal variability and vertical distribution of autotrophic and heterotrophic picoplankton in the Central Red Sea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N86fbcbe5-6bc6-403c-9be6-00549d798c7b

The Red Sea is characterized by higher temperatures and salinities than other oligotrophic tropical regions. Here, we investigated the vertical and seasonal variations in the abundance and biomass of autotrophic and heterotrophic picoplankton. Using flow cytometry, we consistently observed five groups of autotrophs (Prochlorococcus, two populations of Synechococcus separated by their relative phycoerythrin fluorescence, low (LF-Syn) and high (HF-Syn), and two differently-sized groups of picoeukaryotes, small (Speuk) and large (Lpeuk)) and two groups of heterotrophic prokaryotes of low and high nucleic acid content (LNA and HNA, respectively). Samples were collected in 15 surveys conducted from 2015 to 2017 at a 700-m depth station in the central Red Sea. Surface temperature ranged from 24.6 to 32.6 °C with a constant value of 21.7 °C below 200 m. Integrated (0–100 m) chlorophyll a concentrations were low, with maximum values in fall (24.0 ± 2.7 mg m−2) and minima in spring and summer (16.1 ± 1.9 and 1.1 mg m−2, respectively). Picoplankton abundance was generally lower than in other tropical environments. Vertical distributions differed for each group, with Synechococcus and LNA prokaryotes more abundant at the surface while Prochlorococcus, picoeukaryotes and HNA prokaryotes peaked at the deep chlorophyll maximum, located between 40 and 76 m. Surface to 100 m depth-weighted abundances exhibited clear seasonal patterns for Prochlorococcus, with maxima in summer (7.83 × 104 cells mL−1, July 2015) and minima in winter (1.39 × 104 cells mL−1, January 2015). LF-Syn (0.32 – 2.70 × 104 cells mL−1 ), HF-Syn (1.11 – 3.20 × 104 cells mL−1) and Speuk (0.99 – 4.81 × 102 cells mL−1) showed an inverse pattern to Prochlorococcus, while Lpeuk (0.16 – 7.05 × 104 cells mL−1) peaked in fall. Synechococcus unexpectedly outnumbered Prochlorococcus in winter and at the end of fall. The seasonality of heterotrophic prokaryotes (2.29 – 4.21×105 cells mL−1 ) was less noticeable than autotrophic picoplankton. The contribution of HNA cells was generally low in the upper layers, ranging from 36% in late spring and early summer to ca. 50% in winter and fall. Autotrophs dominated integrated picoplankton biomass in the upper 100 m, with 1.4-fold higher values in summer than in winter (mean 387 and 272 mg C m–2, respectively). However, when the whole water column was considered, the biomass of heterotrophic prokaryotes exceeded that of autotrophic picoplankton with an average of 411 mg C m–2. Despite being located in tropical waters, our results show that the picoplankton community seasonal differences in the central Red Sea are not fundamentally different from higher latitude regions.

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