Juvenile scallops of Pecten maximus were studied to see the capability to clear out and incorporate salmon feed and feces (30 μg L-1). Algae were also given, in a low and high concentration in addition to feed and feces, to mimic a winter and summer situation in Norwegian waters. Rhodomonas baltica and Chaetoseris muelleri were provided in a concentration of 50 μg L-1 and 300 μg L-1. The feeding trial lasted for 27 days. Clearance rate was measured to study filtration characteristics, while fatty acid profiling and stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon were used to trace the uptake of salmon feed and feces in the digestive gland and muscle of juvenile scallops (30–35 mm shell height). The results show that the scallops could clear out and retain both salmon feed and feces particles, although at a statistically lower clearance rate than the algae. Fatty acid profiling revealed that the scallops assimilated and incorporated the consumed salmon feed and feces, given with either high or low algae concentrations, in their tissues, where the fatty acid C18:1n9 was used as a tracer fatty acid. The digestive gland of the scallops that were fed salmon feed and feces contained a higher share of C18:1n9 than those that were only fed algae. The digestive gland reflected the fatty acid composition of the diet, while the fatty acid composition of the muscle, which also changed, reflected a more complex relation between diet and metabolic processes in the tissue. The use of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to trace food sources was inconclusive in this study due to low differences between samples fed different feeds. Fatty acid profiling was a more sensitive method for tracing low concentrations of salmon feed and feces in the algae diet of scallops. Our results suggest that P. maximus could be a candidate for integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) and that scallops have the potential to utilize small particles of wasted salmon feed and feces during a winter situation with low phytoplankton concentration and during an algal bloom in Norwegian waters.
Caribbean coral reefs are undergoing massive degradation, with local increases of macroalgae and reduction of architectural complexity associated with loss of reef-building corals. We explored whether reef degradation affects the feeding ecology of two co-occurring spiny lobsters: Panulirus guttatus, which is an obligate reef-dweller, and Panulirus argus, which uses various benthic habitats including coral reefs. We collected lobsters of both species from the back-reef zones of two large reefs similar in length (∼1.5 km) but differing widely in level of degradation, at the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park (Mexico). We measured the carapace length (CL) and weight (W) of lobsters, estimated three condition indices (hepatosomatic index, HI; blood refractive index, BRI; and W/CL ratio), and analyzed their stomach contents and stable isotope values (δ15N and δ13C). All lobsters tested negative for the presence of the virus PaV1, which can affect nutritional condition. Stomach contents yielded 72 animal taxa, mainly mollusks and crustaceans, with an average of 35 taxa per species per reef, but with much overlap. In P. guttatus, CL, HI, BRI, and W/CL did not vary with reef, but mean isotopic values did. The isotopic niche of P. guttatus showed little overlap between reefs, reflecting differences in local carbon sources and underlining the habitat specialization of P. guttatus, which exhibited a higher trophic position on the more degraded reef. Overall, the trophic position of P. guttatus was higher than that of P. argus. In P. argus, none of the variables differed between reefs and the isotopic niche was wide and with great overlap between reefs, reflecting the broader foraging ranges of P. argus compared to P. guttatus. Additional isotopic values from 16 P. arguscaught at a depth of 25 m in the fore reef suggest that these larger lobsters forage over different habitats and have a higher trophic position than their smaller conspecifics and congeners from the back reef. The feeding ecology of P. argus appears to be less influenced by coral reef degradation than that of P. guttatus, but our results suggest a buffering effect of omnivory against habitat degradation for both lobster species.
Corallivory is the predation of coral mucus, tissue, and skeleton by fishes and invertebrates, and a source of chronic stress for many reef-building coral species. Corallivores often prey on corals repeatedly, and this predation induces wounds that require extensive cellular resources to heal. The effects of corallivory on coral growth, reproduction, and community dynamics are well-documented, and often result in reduced growth rates and fitness. Given the degree of anthropogenic pressures that threaten coral reefs, it is now imperative to focus on understanding how corallivory interacts with anthropogenic forces to alter coral health and community dynamics. For example, coral bleaching events that stem from global climate change often reduce preferred corals species for many corallivorous fishes. These reductions in preferred prey may result in declines in populations of more specialized corallivores while more generalist corallivores may increase. Corallivory may also make corals more susceptible to thermal stress and exacerbate bleaching. At local scales, overfishing depletes corallivorous fish stocks, reducing fish corallivory and bioerosion, whilst removing invertivorous fishes and allowing population increases in invertebrate corallivores (e.g., urchins, Drupella spp.). Interactive effects of local stressors, such as overfishing and nutrient pollution, can alter the effect of corallivory by increasing coral-algal competition and destabilizing the coral microbiome, subsequently leading to coral disease and mortality. Here, we synthesize recent literature of how global climate change and local stressors affect corallivore populations and shape the patterns and effect of corallivory. Our review indicates that the combined effects of corallivory and anthropogenic pressures may be underappreciated and that these interactions often drive changes in coral reefs on scales from ecosystems to microbes. Understanding the ecology of coral reefs in the Anthropocene will require an increased focus on how anthropogenic forcing alters biotic interactions, such as corallivory, and the resulting cascading effects on corals and reef ecosystems.
The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is a United States National Science Foundation-funded major research facility that provides continuous observations of the ocean and seafloor from coastal and open ocean locations in the Atlantic and Pacific. Multiple cycles of OOI infrastructure deployment, recovery, and refurbishment have occurred since operations began in 2014. This heterogeneous ocean observing infrastructure with multidisciplinary sampling in important but challenging locations has provided new scientific and engineering insights into the operation of a sustained ocean observing system. This paper summarizes the challenges, successes, and failures experienced to date and shares recommendations on best practices that will be of benefit to the global ocean observing community.
Recently, marine reserves have become a widely advocated approach to marine conservation. However, these studies beg the question as to how the selection imposed by harvesting and the dispersal rates between two patches influence stock abundance and the maximum fishery yield from the perspective of mathematical model. In this paper, a prey–predator model with selective harvesting by incorporating two discrete state delays in age and size for both the species in unreserve area has been established. Considering the resources exploitation and ecological observation, a hybrid optimal problem with Lagrange function and state delays together with characteristic times is formulated. We then develop an efficient numerical method by the lights of optimal state delay control method and Pontryagin-type minimum (maximum) principle. Finally, we discuss the impacts of selection for harvesting ages and efforts as well as migration coefficients on the fishery abundance and maximal yield by a series of simulations. Our results manifest: (1) after establishing protected areas, the oscillating amplitudes of prey and predator in unprotected areas are lessened and the stocks of predator in both areas are greatly enhanced with increasing of dispersal rates. (2) selective harvest tactics is appropriate for the strong intensity harvest in order to increase the abundance of all populations; (3) at the specific ages, optimal harvest efforts can enhance greatly fishery yield for the harvested population. However, the too late harvest for populations can reduce fishery sustainable yield, and this undesirable effects should be considered alongside harvest efforts when developing hunting regulations or policies; (4) the appropriate age selections will bring about the higher yield when the over-exploitation is implemented; (5) creating reserved areas only for preys greatly enhances fishery stocks and the sustainable yield than the other two patterns. However, setting reserved areas merely for the predator population is undesirable for increasing the fishery stock and yield.
The Persian/Arabian Gulf (hereafter, ‘the Gulf’) is an environmentally extreme sea that is being increasingly affected by climate change and anthropogenic stressors, and concern is growing about the future of marine biodiversity in the region. However, identification of species and habitats most in need of conservation is challenging as comprehensive information on species-specific threats and population statuses is lacking. Through application of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)Red List methodology – the global accepted standard for classifying extinction risk at the species level – we evaluated the regional conservation status of 471 species of marine bony fishes in the Gulf. The best estimate of the proportion of regionally threatened marine bony fishes, based on all species for which sufficient data were available for assessment, is 8.2%; this is at least twice the proportion of other regions where such assessments have been undertaken. Primary threats include those related to fisheries and& harvesting and those related to coastal development and loss of habitat, impacting 47% and 32% of marine bony fishes, respectively. Such threats are particularly acute in nearshore areas where spatial analyses indicated high species richness. The future of Gulf ecosystems, and the survival of the marine bony fishes, will depend on concerted, collaborative efforts among all Gulf States to develop efficient and effective local and regional marine conservation practices and policies, particularly for species assessed as regionally threatened.
A major problem worldwide is the rapid change in species abundance and distribution, which is rapidly restructuring the biological communities of many ecosystems under changing climates. Tracking these transformations in the marine environment is crucial but our understanding is often hampered by the absence of historical data and by the practical challenge of survey large geographical areas. Here we focus on the Mediterranean Sea, a region which is warming faster than the rest of the global ocean, tracing back the spatio-temporal dynamic of species, which are emerging the most in terms of increasing abundances and expanding distributions. To this aim, we accessed the Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) of small-scale and recreational fishers reconstructing the dynamics of fish perceived as ‘new’ or increasing in different fishing area. Over 500 fishers across 95 locations and 9 different countries were interviewed and semi-quantitative information on yearly changes in species abundance was collected. Overall, 75 species were mentioned by the respondents, being the most frequent citations related to warm-adapted species of both, native and exotic origin. Respondents belonging to the same biogeographic sectors described coherent spatio-temporal dynamics, and gradients along latitudinal and longitudinal axes were revealed. This information provides a more complete understanding of recent bio-geographical changes in the Mediterranean Sea and it also demonstrates that adequately structured LEK methodology might be applied successfully beyond the local scale, across national borders and jurisdictions. Acknowledging this potential through macro-regional coordination, could pave the ground for future large-scale aggregations of individual observations, increasing our potential for integrated monitoring and conservation planning at the regional or even global level.
Park managers call for cost-effective and innovative solutions to handle a wide variety of environmental problems that threaten biodiversity in protected areas. Recently, drones have been called upon to revolutionize conservation and hold great potential to evolve and raise better-informed decisions to assist management. Despite great expectations, the benefits that drones could bring to foster effectiveness remain fundamentally unexplored. To address this gap, we performed a literature review about the use of drones in conservation. We selected a total of 256 studies, of which 99 were carried out in protected areas. We classified the studies in five distinct areas of applications: “wildlife monitoring and management”; “ecosystem monitoring”; “law enforcement”; “ecotourism”; and “environmental management and disaster response”. We also identified specific gaps and challenges that would allow for the expansion of critical research or monitoring. Our results support the evidence that drones hold merits to serve conservation actions and reinforce effective management, but multidisciplinary research must resolve the operational and analytical shortcomings that undermine the prospects for drones integration in protected areas.
In the Pacific Northwest, residents are mobilizing to prevent the coastal export of fossil fuels and protect unique ecosystems and place-based communities. This paper examines the diverse groups, largely from the Bellingham area, and how they succeeded in blocking construction of what was to be the largest coal-shipping port in North America, the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). Tribes, environmental organizations, faith-based groups, and other citizen groups used a multitude of approaches to prevent development, both independently and in concert. This paper reviews the various ways in which the groups collaborated and supported one another to resist the neoliberalization of the coast and support local sovereignty, unique ecosystems, and place-based communities. Groups like Power Past Coal, Protect Whatcom, and Coal-Free Bellingham fought for important and protective changes and evidenced communitywide political support, but the sovereign rights of the Lummi Nation were the legal bar to constructing the coal terminal.
Sea noise collected over 2003 to 2017 from the Perth Canyon, Western Australia was analysed for variation in the South Eastern Indian Ocean pygmy blue whale song structure. The primary song-types were: P3, a three unit phrase (I, II and III) repeated with an inter-song interval (ISI) of 170–194 s; P2, a phrase consisting of only units II & III repeated every 84–96 s; and P1 with a phrase consisting of only unit II repeated every 45–49 s. The different ISI values were approximate multiples of each other within a season. When comparing data from each season, across seasons, the ISI value for each song increased significantly through time (all fits had p<< 0.001), at 0.30 s/Year (95%CI 0.217–0.383), 0.8 s/Year (95%CI 0.655–1.025) and 1.73 s/Year (95%CI 1.264–2.196) for the P1, P2 and P3 songs respectively. The proportions of each song-type averaged at 21.5, 24.2 and 56% for P1, P2 and P3 occurrence respectively and these ratios could vary by up to ± 8% (95% CI) amongst years. On some occasions animals changed the P3 ISI to be significantly shorter (120–160 s) or longer (220–280 s). Hybrid song patterns occurred where animals combined multiple phrase types into a repeated song. In recent years whales introduced further complexity by splitting song units. This variability of song-type and proportions implies abundance measure for this whale sub population based on song detection needs to factor in trends in song variability to make data comparable between seasons. Further, such variability in song production by a sub population of pygmy blue whales raises questions as to the stability of the song types that are used to delineate populations. The high level of song variability may be driven by an increasing number of background whale callers creating ‘noise’ and so forcing animals to alter song in order to ‘stand out’ amongst the crowd.