Understanding mechanisms of intraspecific variation in resilience to environmental drivers is key to predict species' adaptive potential. Recent studies show a higher CO2resilience of Sydney rock oysters selectively bred for increased growth and disease resistance (‘selected oysters’) compared to the wild population. We tested whether the higher resilience of selected oysters correlates with an increased ability to compensate for CO2-induced acid-base disturbances. After 7 weeks of exposure to elevated seawater PCO2 (1100 μatm), wild oysters had a lower extracellular pH (pHe = 7.54 ± 0.02 (control) vs. 7.40 ± 0.03 (elevated PCO2)) and increased hemolymph PCO2 whereas extracellular acid-base status of selected oysters remained unaffected. However, differing pHe values between oyster types were not linked to altered metabolic costs of major ion regulators (Na+/K+-ATPase, H+-ATPase and Na+/H+-exchanger) in gill and mantle tissues. Our findings suggest that selected oysters possess an increased systemic capacity to eliminate metabolic CO2, possibly through higher and energetically more efficient filtration rates and associated gas exchange. Thus, effective filtration and CO2 resilience might be positively correlated traits in oysters.
The highly globalized and competitive nature of the shipping industry poses serious governance challenges. Recently, the use of voluntary measures, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, has been explored in terms of moving towards environmentally and socially responsible as well as safe shipping industry practices. Limited attention has been paid on the role of stakeholders such as consumers, employees, NGOs, and academia in pressuring the shipping industry towards greater environmental and social responsibility. Here, by applying stakeholder theory and drawing on examples of already materialized stakeholder actions and multi-stakeholder initiatives, we study the potential ways that stakeholders can promote CSR in the shipping industry: we explore the resource dependencies between stakeholders, the stakeholder influence strategies, and the importance of multi-stakeholder pressure. We show that stakeholders can gain more power by using indirect strategies such as working via and/or in alliances with NGOs, trade unions, banks and financers, and/or different national or international regulatory bodies, as well as with the industry itself. Our results reveal the potential of multi-stakeholder pressure and action to promote the adoption of CSR activities, support the transparency, legitimacy, and enforcement of the practices, as well as widen the scope and focus of CSR initiatives and practices by focusing on a broad range of social and environmental issues. Finally, stakeholder pressure can push towards improved regulations. The study suggests that increased attention needs to be paid on the multi-stakeholder demands, especially considering the accentuated importance of effective maritime governance in the future.
We analysed with multigene (18S and COI) metabarcoding the effects of the proliferation of invasive seaweeds on rocky littoral communities in two Spanish Marine Protected Areas. The invasive algae studied were Caulerpa cylindracea, Lophocladia lallemandiiand Asparagopsis armata. They are canopy-forming, landscape-dominant seaweeds, and we were interested in their effects on the underlying communities of meiobenthos and macrobenthos, separated in two size fractions through sieving. A new semiquantitative treatment of metabarcoding data is introduced. The results for both markers showed that the presence of the invasive seaweed had a significant effect on the understory communities for Lophocladia lallemandii and Asparagopsis armata but not for Caulerpa cylindracea. Likewise, changes in MOTU richness and diversity with invasion status varied in magnitude and direction depending on the alga considered. Our results showed that metabarcoding allows monitoring of the less conspicuous, but not least important, effects of the presence of dominant invasive seaweeds.
While high biodiversity has been widely reported from the tropics, we suggest that in reality there is a considerable underestimate of the total biodiversity. We have concentrated on the tropical regions of Australia and the Coral Triangle. The best known groups are the corals, fish, and commercially important invertebrates. In considering whether this is true, we have concentrated on the diversity of benthic communities and water column communities which are poorly known. Yet at the bottom of the food chain these communities are highly dynamic and susceptible to the anthropogenic changes that are occurring with the rapid development in this highly populated region. Tropical biodiversity is under increasing stress from a synergistic combination of changes in climate, oceanographic regimes, increasing coastal development, overfishing, and poor water quality, resulting in bleaching of corals and loss of habitat and of associated fauna. These changes on reefs have received substantial research attention; in comparison, there is limited data on inter-reefal areas and water column communities and limited understanding of the ecological interconnectivity of all these habitats. While in this region there is growing marine protected area coverage, the major focus is on coral reefs with other habitats based on surrogacy with little if any ground-truthing. Within this region, there is limited capacity or inclination to rectify this lack of knowledge of the structure and ecology of the broader non-commercial benthic and pelagic communities. We suggest this lack of knowledge and limited expertise may be widespread throughout the tropics and compromises our ability to understand and predict the changes that are occurring with increasing anthropogenic impacts on these tropical ecosystems.
Contamination by bulk plastics and plastic debris is currently the one of the most serious environmental problems in aquatic ecosystems. In particular, small-scale plastic debris such as microplastics and nanoplastics has become leading contributors to the pollution of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Studies are investigating the impacts of micro-and nanoplastics on aquatic organisms and ecosystems worldwide. This review covers 83 studies that investigated the distribution of microplastics and the ecotoxicity of micro- and nanoplastics in marine and freshwater ecosystems. The studies indicated that micro-sized plastics and plastic debris were distributed at various concentrations in aquatic ecosystems around the world. They had various effects on the growth, development, behavior, reproduction, and mortality of aquatic animals. We discuss these studies in detail and suggest directions for future research.
The spread of artificial night lighting is increasingly acknowledged as a major threat to global biodiversity. Identifying and exploring the impacts of nightlight pollution upon species behavior, ecology and population dynamics could enhance conservation capacity. Sea turtle hatchlings emerge from nest at night and use visual cues to direct towards the brightest and lowest horizon, eventually leading them to the sea. Nightlight pollution could alter the cues perceived, disorienting the fragile hatchlings. We examined the level of artificial lighting and orientation patterns of sea turtles hatchling, in Zakynthos Island, Greece, one of the main nesting rookeries of the loggerheads (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean Sea. We analyzed movement patterns of 5967 hatchlings from 230 nests, and demonstrate that nightlight pollution could reduce population recruitment by more than 7%, suggesting that mitigation measures should become a high conservation priority. Our results further suggest that the responses of sea turtle hatchlings to artificial nighttime lighting could vary significantly depending on various factors, either anthropogenic or natural. Local conditions operating at the nesting site level determine the fine scale responses of hatchlings, thus conservation measures should be drawn in respect to site-specific properties.
Anthropogenic debris ingestion has been reported for green turtles in all their life stages worldwide. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the marine debris ingestion by green turtles stranded in Uruguayan coast between 2005 and 2013. Debris items were categorized and quantified by frequency of occurrence, relative weight, volume and number of items. A total of 96 dead stranded turtles were analyzed and 70% presented debris in their guts. The majority of debris found were plastic, being hard plastics the most abundant in weight and volume. The best model explaining the variability of the amount of debris ingested included turtle size, Julian day and distance from the estuary. We detected a negative correlation between the presence of debris and turtle's size. Smaller turtles are new recruits to neritic grounds indicating that the early juvenile stage of this species is the most vulnerable to this threat in the Southwestern Atlantic.
In the Mediterranean, habitat-forming corals often characterize essential fish habitats. While their distribution is sufficiently known for the western basin, few data are available from the Central-Eastern Mediterranean Sea (CEM). This study fills this gap supplying the largest dataset ever built on the geographical and bathymetric distribution of the most relevant habitat-forming corals (Eunicella cavolini, Eunicella verrucosa, Eunicella singularis, Leptogorgia sarmentosa, Paramuricea clavata, Corallium rubrum and Savalia savaglia) of the CEM. Information collected from different sources such as literature, citizen science, and from the World Wide Web (WWW) was combined. Videos published on the WWW provided additional information on the presence of fishing lines and signs of damage, as well as on the distribution of purple and yellow-purple colonies of Paramuricea clavata. The study highlighted the impressive amount of information that the WWW can offer to scientists, termed here as Web Ecological Knowledge (WEK). The WEK is constantly fuelled by internauts, representing a free, refreshable, long-term exploitable reservoir of information. A quick and easy method to retrieve data from the WWW was illustrated. In addition, the distribution of corals was overlapped to marine protected areas and to the distribution of environmental conditions suitable for coralligenous habitats, fragile biogenic Mediterranean structures hosting complex assemblages in need of strict protection. The collected data allowed identifying priority areas with high species diversity and sites that are impacted by fishing activities. Supplied data can correctly address conservation and restoration policies in the CEM, adding an important contribution to ecosystem-based marine spatial planning.
While some progress has been made, Europe is far from achieving its policy objective of healthy aquatic ecosystems. This paper presents an integrated assessment of how EU policies influence aquatic biodiversity, in order to determine how EU policies and laws contribute to achieving and/or hindering EU and international biodiversity targets. The paper also discusses whether European policy has a synergistic or conflicting mix of instruments to address the main problems facing aquatic biodiversity, and whether gaps in the existing policy framework exist. The integrated policy review assessment presented in this paper is based on the application of the drivers–pressures–state–impact–responses (DPSIR) framework to six known pressures on aquatic biodiversity, selected to provide a representative range: nitrogen pollution, species extraction, invasive alien species, water abstraction, alterations to morphology, and plastic waste. The DPSIR framework is used to characterize these pressures and how they are influenced by underpinning socio-economic drivers and major European policies. The conclusions highlight that the policy framework is most developed when it comes to defining environmental targets and sets a number of instruments to reduce pressures by encouraging the adoption of more resource-efficient practices, but it becomes less specific when tackling sectors (drivers) and supporting more environmental sound economic development
Rising temperatures in the Arctic Ocean region are responsible for changes such as reduced ice cover, permafrost thawing, and increased river discharge, which, together, alter nutrient and carbon cycles over the vast Arctic continental shelf. We show that the concentration of radium-228, sourced to seawater through sediment-water exchange processes, has increased substantially in surface waters of the central Arctic Ocean over the past decade. A mass balance model for 228Ra suggests that this increase is due to an intensification of shelf-derived material inputs to the central basin, a source that would also carry elevated concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and nutrients. Therefore, we suggest that significant changes in the nutrient, carbon, and trace metal balances of the Arctic Ocean are underway, with the potential to affect biological productivity and species assemblages in Arctic surface waters.