Literature Library

Currently indexing 7962 titles

New insights into the hydrogeology and groundwater flow in the Great Barrier Reef catchment, Australia, revealed through 3D modelling

Shishaye HA, Tait DR, Befus KM, Maher DT, Reading MJ. New insights into the hydrogeology and groundwater flow in the Great Barrier Reef catchment, Australia, revealed through 3D modelling. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies [Internet]. 2020 ;30:100708. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214581820301828
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Study region

The Great Barrier Reef catchment is located adjacent to the world's largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, in eastern Queensland, Australia.

Study focus

This study characterized the geologic and hydrogeologic settings and evaluated the influence of regional faults on groundwater flow. 3D geological models of six regions within the catchment were constructed using drill-log data from >49,000 wells, digital elevation models and surface geological maps. The 3D models were then integrated with potentiometric surface maps and faults data to conceptualize the hydraulic relationships of aquifer units and estimate groundwater development potentials. Potentiometric surfaces and fault orientations were used to conceptualize groundwater flow directions.

New hydrological insights for the region

The 3D geological and hydrogeological characterizations revealed previously unknown faults and aquifer units in the study area. The study found that the central regions consisted of fractured and porous-unconfined aquifers, while confined aquifers, which extend to the coast and likely beyond, were also found in the northern and southern most regions. The orientations of the faults trended in NW-SE directions and could form conduits for south-easterly groundwater flow as opposed to the predominate easterly flow in the porous-unconfined and confined aquifers. The 3D models, aquifer connectivities and geometries provided crucial information to determine groundwater development potentials and offer a first step in developing local and regional groundwater flow and contaminant transport models.

An evaluation of the public’s Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) in Trinidad and Tobago regarding sharks and shark consumption

Ali L, Grey E, Singh D, Mohammed A, Tripathi V, Gobin J, Ramnarine I. An evaluation of the public’s Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) in Trinidad and Tobago regarding sharks and shark consumption Finkelstein ME. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(6):e0234499. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234499
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

There is a global lack of data concerning shark consumption trends, consumer attitudes, and public knowledge regarding sharks. This is the case in Trinidad and Tobago, where shark is a popular culinary delicacy. A Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey was conducted in Trinidad and Tobago. Six hundred and seven questionnaires were administered. Univariate and stepwise multivariate logistic regressions were performed to test the association between KAP and demographic categories. The response rate was 93.4% with 567 questionnaires returned (473 from Trinidad and 94 from Tobago). Two hundred and seventeen (38.3%) participants were knowledgeable, 422 (74.4%) displayed attitudes in favour of shark conservation and sustainable use, and 270 (47.6%) displayed practices promoting shark conservation and sustainable use. Island (AOR = 2.81, CI = 1.78, 4.46) and tertiary education (AOR = 2.31, CI = 1.20, 4.46) significantly influenced knowledge level. Gender (AOR = 1.50, CI = 1.02, 2.20) and island (AOR = 0.56, CI = 0.35, 0.90) significantly influenced attitude. Gender (COR = 1.59, CI = 1.14, 2.22) was significantly associated with practices. Over 70% of respondents ate shark, and 54.7% ate shark infrequently enough to avoid risks from heavy metal toxicity. Our results may be useful to develop public awareness and practice improvement initiatives in order to improve KAP regarding shark meat consumption.

Habitat zonation on coral reefs: Structural complexity, nutritional resources and herbivorous fish distributions

Oakley-Cogan A, Tebbett SB, Bellwood DR. Habitat zonation on coral reefs: Structural complexity, nutritional resources and herbivorous fish distributions Patterson HM. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(6):e0233498. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233498
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Distinct zonation of community assemblages among habitats is a ubiquitous feature of coral reefs. The distribution of roving herbivorous fishes (parrotfishes, surgeonfishes and rabbitfishes) is a particularly clear example, with the abundance of these fishes generally peaking in shallow-water, high-energy habitats, regardless of the biogeographic realm. Yet, our understanding of the factors which structure this habitat partitioning, especially with regards to different facets of structural complexity and nutritional resource availability, is limited. To address this issue, we used three-dimensional photogrammetry and structure-from-motion technologies to describe five components of structural complexity (rugosity, coral cover, verticality, refuge density and field-of-view) and nutritional resource availability (grazing surface area) among habitats and considered how these factors are related to herbivorous fish distributions. All complexity metrics (including coral cover) were highest on the slope and crest. Nutritional resource availability differed from this general pattern and peaked on the outer-flat. Unexpectedly, when compared to the distribution of herbivorous fishes, none of the complexity metrics had a marked influence in the models. However, grazing surface area was a strong predictor of both the abundance and biomass of herbivorous fishes. The strong relationship between grazing surface area and herbivorous fish distributions indicates that nutritional resource availability may be one of the primary factors driving the distribution of roving herbivorous fishes. The lack of a relationship between complexity and herbivorous fishes, and a strong affinity of herbivorous fishes for low-complexity, algal turf-dominated outer-flat habitats, offers some cautious optimism that herbivory may be sustained on future, low-complexity, algal turf-dominated reef configurations.

Operationalizing Ocean Health: Toward Integrated Research on Ocean Health and Recovery to Achieve Ocean Sustainability

Franke A, Blenckner T, Duarte CM, Ott K, Fleming LE, Antia A, Reusch TBH, Bertram C, Hein J, Kronfeld-Goharani U, et al. Operationalizing Ocean Health: Toward Integrated Research on Ocean Health and Recovery to Achieve Ocean Sustainability. One Earth [Internet]. 2020 ;2(6):557 - 565. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590332220302499
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Protecting the ocean has become a major goal of international policy as human activities increasingly endanger the integrity of the ocean ecosystem, often summarized as “ocean health.” By and large, efforts to protect the ocean have failed because, among other things, (1) the underlying socio-ecological pathways have not been properly considered, and (2) the concept of ocean health has been ill defined. Collectively, this prevents an adequate societal response as to how ocean ecosystems and their vital functions for human societies can be protected and restored. We review the confusion surrounding the term “ocean health” and suggest an operational ocean-health framework in line with the concept of strong sustainability. Given the accelerating degeneration of marine ecosystems, the restoration of regional ocean health will be of increasing importance. Our advocated transdisciplinary and multi-actor framework can help to advance the implementation of more active measures to restore ocean health and safeguard human health and well-being.

A Global Review of Vessel Collisions With Marine Animals

Schoeman RP, Patterson-Abrolat C, Plön S. A Global Review of Vessel Collisions With Marine Animals. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00292/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1348443_45_Marine_20200609_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Concern about the effects of maritime vessel collisions with marine animals is increasing worldwide. To date, most scientific publications on this topic have focused on the collisions between large vessels and large whales. However, our review found that at least 75 marine species are affected, including smaller whales, dolphins, porpoises, dugongs, manatees, whale sharks, sharks, seals, sea otters, sea turtles, penguins, and fish. Collision incidents with smaller species are scarce, likely as a result of reporting biases. Some of these biases can be addressed through the establishment of species-specific necropsy protocols to ensure reliable identification of collision-related injury, particularly blunt force trauma. In addition, creating a ship strike database for smaller species can assist in identifying the species most frequently involved in collisions, identifying high-risk areas, and determining species-specific relationships between vessel speed and lethal injury. The International Whaling Commission database on collisions with large whales provides a good example of this type of database and its potential uses. Prioritizing the establishment of a species-specific necropsy protocol and a database for smaller species as well as the identification of high-risk areas for species other than large whales, would be a valuable step toward the mitigation of collisions with smaller species.

Pathways of Pelagic Connectivity: Eukrohnia hamata (Chaetognatha) in the Arctic Ocean

DeHart HM, Blanco-Bercial L, Passacantando M, Questel JM, Bucklin A. Pathways of Pelagic Connectivity: Eukrohnia hamata (Chaetognatha) in the Arctic Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00396/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The dramatic warming of the Arctic Ocean will impact pelagic ecosystems in complex ways, including shifting patterns of species distribution and abundance, and altering migration pathways and population connectivity. Species of the Phylum Chaetognatha (arrow worms) are abundant in the zooplankton assemblage and are highly effective predators, with key roles in pelagic food webs. They are useful indicator species for impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. This study examined the population genetic diversity, structure and connectivity of the chaetognath, Eukrohnia hamata, based on sampling from six regions defined by geography, bathymetry, and major currents flowing through the Arctic Ocean. A 528-base pair sequenced region of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) analyzed for 131 specimens resulted in 78 haplotypes and very high haplotype diversity. Analysis of mtCOI haplotype frequencies provided no evidence of population genetic structure. Genomic Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) detected from the same specimens by double-digest Restriction-site Associated Digestion (ddRAD) confirmed high levels of gene flow among the regions, but supported the genetic distinctiveness of two population clusters: Atlantic–Arctic versus Pacific–Arctic. Removal of SNPs subject to selection resulted in slightly higher probability of three clusters, and suggested the possibility of local adaptation of regional populations of E. hamata. Comparative analysis revealed evidence that random selection of subsets of SNPs, perhaps impacted by different ecological and (micro) evolutionary drivers, can result in marked differences in numbers and distributional patterns of clusters and associated variation in F-statistics. Analysis of population connectivity using SNPs supported the primary migration pathway via flow from the Atlantic to the Pacific Arctic regions.

Behavior and Bio-Interactions of Anthropogenic Particles in Marine Environment for a More Realistic Ecological Risk Assessment

Corsi I, Bergami E, Grassi G. Behavior and Bio-Interactions of Anthropogenic Particles in Marine Environment for a More Realistic Ecological Risk Assessment. Frontiers in Environmental Science [Internet]. 2020 ;8. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2020.00060/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1359578_25_Enviro_20200623_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Owing to production, usage, and disposal of nano-enabled products as well as fragmentation of bulk materials, anthropogenic nanoscale particles (NPs) can enter the natural environment and through different compartments (air, soil, and water) end up into the sea. With the continuous increase in production and associated emissions and discharges, they can reach concentrations able to exceed toxicity thresholds for living species inhabiting marine coastal areas. Behavior and fate of NPs in marine waters are driven by transformation processes occurring as a function of NP intrinsic and extrinsic properties in the receiving seawaters. All those aspects have been overlooked in ecological risk assessment. This review critically reports ecotoxicity studies in which size distribution, surface charges and bio−nano interactions have been considered for a more realistic risk assessment of NPs in marine environment. Two emerging and relevant NPs, the metal-based titanium dioxide (TiO2), and polystyrene (PS), a proxy for nanoplastics, are reviewed, and their impact on marine biota (from planktonic species to invertebrates and fish) is discussed as a function of particle size and surface charges (negative vs. positive), which affect their behavior and interaction with the biological material. Uptake of NPs is related to their nanoscale size; however, in vivo studies clearly demonstrated that transformation (agglomerates/aggregates) occurring in both artificial and natural seawater drive to different exposure routes and biological responses at cellular and organism level. Adsorption of single particles or agglomerates onto the body surface or their internalization in feces can impair motility and affect sinking or floating behavior with consequences on populations and ecological function. Particle complex dynamics in natural seawater is almost unknown, although it determines the effective exposure scenarios. Based on the latest predicted environmental concentrations for TiO2 and PS NPs in the marine environment, current knowledge gaps and future research challenges encompass the comprehensive study of bio−nano interactions. As such, the analysis of NP biomolecular coronas can enable a better assessment of particle uptake and related cellular pathways leading to toxic effects. Moreover, the formation of an environmentally derived corona (i.e., eco-corona) in seawater accounts for NP physical–chemical alterations, rebounding on interaction with living organisms and toxicity.

Advancing Through the Pandemic From the Perspective of Marine Graduate Researchers: Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities

Pardo JCF, Ramon D, Stefanelli-Silva G, Elegbede I, Lima LS, Principe SC. Advancing Through the Pandemic From the Perspective of Marine Graduate Researchers: Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00528/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a new social and academic reality to researchers worldwide. The field of marine science, our own topic of interest, has also been impacted in multiple ways, from cancelation of laboratory and field activities to postponement of onboard research. As graduate researchers, we have a time-sensitive academic path, and our current situation may constrain our academic future. At the same time, the pandemic demands revised strategies to deal with the ongoing difficulties and tackle similar future situations. In this perspective, we have gathered information on the challenges, solutions and opportunities for graduate researchers in the field of marine science by (1) discussing the relevant short-, long-term challenges caused by the pandemic, (2) providing feasible immediate and near-future solutions, (3) compiling opportunities (courses, scientific events, academic positions), and (4) creating a shared social media account to make the available information on new opportunities more accessible. With this, we hope to add to the efforts to advance the academic career of marine graduates during this harsh period.

Review of Coast and Marine Ecosystems in Temperate Australia Demonstrates a Wealth of Ecosystem Services

Gaylard S, Waycott M, Lavery P. Review of Coast and Marine Ecosystems in Temperate Australia Demonstrates a Wealth of Ecosystem Services. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00453/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Temperate Australia has extensive and diverse coast and marine habitats throughout its inshore and offshore waters. The region includes the southernmost extent of mangroves, over 500 estuaries and coastal embayments, home to extensive meadows of seagrasses and tidal saltmarsh. In areas of hard substrate, rocky reefs are abundant and productive with large forests of macroalgae. Coastal regions can be densely populated by humans and often habitats can be degraded, polluted or lost, while some remain relatively isolated and pristine. These habitats provide services to society including provision of food, regulate our climate through sequestration of carbon, treating our waste and protecting our shorelines from damage from storms. Coastal areas are culturally importantly hubs for recreation and tourism. Habitat mapping demonstrates diverse habitats throughout temperate Australia, but a formal investigation of services provided by these habitats has been lacking. This review of ecosystem services provided by coast and marine environments throughout temperate Australia reveals vast and productive ecosystems that provide multiple ecosystem services, substantial value to the Australian economy and contribute to the health and well-being of people who live in, visit of benefit from services or products from these regions. Some of these are considered within traditional economic metrics such as provision of wild catch fisheries, but this review demonstrates that regulation and maintenance services including waste treatment and protecting shorelines from extreme events are under recognized, and their value is substantial. However, consistent with many locations globally, coast and marine habitats are under threat from increasing development, sewage, agricultural, industrial discharges, urban runoff and climate change. Resultantly, temperate Australian coast and marine habitat extent and condition is generally declining in many regions, putting the provision of services and benefits to the community at risk. Continued degraded or lost habitats indicate current management frameworks are not capturing the full risk from development and there are winners and losers in trade off decision making. Incorporating ecosystem services in decision making may allow an integrated approach to management, and acknowledgment of services provided could prevent habitats from being undervalued against economic and social interests, a practice that often results in environmental degradation.

Novel Insights Into Gas Embolism in Sea Turtles: First Description in Three New Species

Crespo-Picazo JL, Parga M, de Quirós YBernaldo, Monteiro D, Marco-Cabedo V, Llopis-Belenguer C, García-Párraga D. Novel Insights Into Gas Embolism in Sea Turtles: First Description in Three New Species. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00442/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The recent finding of gas embolism (GE) and decompression sickness (DCS) in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean Sea challenged the conventional understanding of marine vertebrate diving physiology. Additionally, it brought to light a previously unknown source of mortality associated with fisheries bycatch for this vulnerable species. In this paper, we use ultrasonography to describe GE in a leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), and an olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) from accidental capture in a gillnet, bottom trawl, and pair-bottom trawl, respectively. This is the first description of this condition in these three species worldwide. These cases of GE suggest that this may be a threat faced by all sea turtle species globally.

Connecting Crabs, Currents, and Coastal Communities: Examining the Impacts of Changing Ocean Conditions on the Distribution of U.S. West Coast Dungeness Crab Commercial Catch

Magel CL, Lee EMJ, Strawn AM, Swieca K, Jensen AD. Connecting Crabs, Currents, and Coastal Communities: Examining the Impacts of Changing Ocean Conditions on the Distribution of U.S. West Coast Dungeness Crab Commercial Catch. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00401/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) is one of the most lucrative fisheries on the United States (U.S.) west coast. There have been large spatial and temporal fluctuations in catch, which reflect the interconnected influences of the coupled natural-human fishery system. Changing ocean conditions are likely to further alter the magnitude and distribution of Dungeness crab catch, the impacts of which will propagate ecologically and through the social systems of fishing communities. Therefore, the effect of changing ocean conditions on U.S. west coast Dungeness crab catch per unit effort (CPUE) was used as an interdisciplinary case study to examine the susceptibility, a metric that integrates Dungeness crab reliance and social vulnerability indices, of coastal communities to changes in the fishery. Statistical models indicated that ocean conditions influence commercial CPUE 3–5 years later and that CPUE is likely to decline in the future as ocean conditions change. In particular, sea surface temperature scenarios for 2080 (+1.7 and +2.8°C) reduced Dungeness crab CPUE by 30–100%, depending on fishing port latitude. Declines in Dungeness crab CPUE were greater for southern port communities than for northern port communities under both scenarios – demonstrating greater exposure at the southern end of the species range. We show that U.S. west coast communities are differentially susceptible to a decline in Dungeness crab catch, with Washington communities being at least five times more susceptible than California communities. Our overall assessment showed varying levels of risk (a combination of exposure and susceptibility) for Dungeness crab fishing ports that do not necessarily align with regional or fishery management boundaries.

The Status of Coastal Benthic Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea: Evidence From Ecological Indicators

Bevilacqua S, Katsanevakis S, Micheli F, Sala E, Rilov G, Sarà G, Malak DAbdul, Abdulla A, Gerovasileiou V, Gissi E, et al. The Status of Coastal Benthic Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea: Evidence From Ecological Indicators. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00475/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The Mediterranean Sea is subject to multiple human pressures increasingly threatening its unique biodiversity. Spatially explicit information on the ecological status of marine ecosystems is therefore key to an effective maritime spatial planning and management, and to help the achievement of environmental targets. Here, we summarized scientific data on the ecological status of a selection of marine ecosystems based on a set of ecological indicators in more than 700 sites of the Mediterranean Sea. For Posidonia oceanica seagrass beds, rocky intertidal fringe, and coastal soft bottoms, more than 70% of investigated sites exhibited good to high ecological conditions. In contrast, about two-thirds of sites for subtidal rocky reefs were classified to be in moderate to bad conditions, stressing the need for prioritizing conservation initiatives on these productive and diverse environments. Very little quantitative information was available for the southern Mediterranean Sea, thus monitoring programs and assessments in this area are essential for a representative assessment of the health of marine coastal ecosystems in the whole basin. This overview represents a first step to implement a baseline that, through georeferenced data on ecological status, could help identifying information gaps, directing future research priorities, and supporting improvements to spatial models of expected cumulative impacts on marine ecosystems.

What Is Gill Health and What Is Its Role in Marine Finfish Aquaculture in the Face of a Changing Climate?

Foyle KL, Hess S, Powell MD, Herbert NA. What Is Gill Health and What Is Its Role in Marine Finfish Aquaculture in the Face of a Changing Climate?. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00400/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

It is hard to find a definition of gill health in the literature although there is a lot of information on changes to gill structure as a result of infectious and non-infectious challenge. How these changes relate to overall fish health is sometimes not clear. Interaction between the gill, the fish, and a range of anticipated changes in the environment will have a currently unknown effect on marine health and aquaculture production. To a degree, fish will likely be able to ameliorate certain changes, such as compensating for slightly elevated carbon dioxide; however, these actions may come at the cost of compromising other functions such as osmoregulation. Compensation will also depend on gill epithelial health and other environmental factors like external nitrogen and ammonia sources which can rise depending on the direction future culture and levels of eutrophication take. Fish can also remodel gill structure in response to salinity, hypoxia, or acidification but it appears that increased temperatures may be associated with increased pathology observable in the gill, and certain fishes may be more susceptible to change. There is a need for more targeted research into climate change-specific gill physiology and a need to recognise gill health as being a key component of food security and not just fish health.

Interaction of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current With Seamounts Fuels Moderate Blooms but Vast Foraging Grounds for Multiple Marine Predators

Sergi S, Baudena A, Cotté C, Ardyna M, Blain S, d’Ovidio F. Interaction of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current With Seamounts Fuels Moderate Blooms but Vast Foraging Grounds for Multiple Marine Predators. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00416/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In the Antarctic Circumpolar Current region of the Southern Ocean, the massive phytoplankton blooms stemming from islands support large trophic chains. Contrary to islands, open ocean seamounts appear to sustain blooms of lesser intensity and, consequently, are expected to play a negligible role in the productivity of this area. Here we revisit this assumption by focusing on a region of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current zone which is massively targeted by marine predators, even if no island fertilizes this area. By combining high resolution bathymetric data, Lagrangian analyses of altimetry-derived velocities and chlorophyll a observations derived from BGC-Argo floats and ocean color images, we reveal that the oligotrophic nature of the study region considered in low chlorophyll a climatological maps hides in reality a much more complex environment. Significant (chlorophyll a in excess of 0.6 mg/m3) phytoplankton blooms spread over thousands of kilometers and have bio-optical signatures similar to the ones stemming from island systems. By adopting a Lagrangian approach, we demonstrate that these moderate blooms (i) originate at specific sites where the Antarctic Circumpolar Current interacts with seamounts, and (ii) coincide with foraging areas of five megafauna species. These findings underline the ecological importance of the open ocean subantarctic waters and advocate for a connected vision of future conservation actions along the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Understanding Environmental Changes in Temperate Coastal Seas: Linking Models of Benthic Fauna to Carbon and Nutrient Fluxes

Ehrnsten E, Sun X, Humborg C, Norkko A, Savchuk OP, Slomp CP, Timmermann K, Gustafsson BG. Understanding Environmental Changes in Temperate Coastal Seas: Linking Models of Benthic Fauna to Carbon and Nutrient Fluxes. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00450/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Coastal seas are highly productive systems, providing an array of ecosystem services to humankind, such as processing of nutrient effluents from land and climate regulation. However, coastal ecosystems are threatened by human-induced pressures such as climate change and eutrophication. In the coastal zone, the fluxes and transformations of nutrients and carbon sustaining coastal ecosystem functions and services are strongly regulated by benthic biological and chemical processes. Thus, to understand and quantify how coastal ecosystems respond to environmental change, mechanistic modeling of benthic biogeochemical processes is required. Here, we discuss the present model capabilities to quantitatively describe how benthic fauna drives nutrient and carbon processing in the coastal zone. There are a multitude of modeling approaches of different complexity, but a thorough mechanistic description of benthic-pelagic processes is still hampered by a fundamental lack of scientific understanding of the diverse interactions between the physical, chemical and biological processes that drive biogeochemical fluxes in the coastal zone. Especially shallow systems with long water residence times are sensitive to the activities of benthic organisms. Hence, including and improving the description of benthic biomass and metabolism in sediment diagenetic as well as ecosystem models for such systems is essential to increase our understanding of their response to environmental changes and the role of coastal sediments in nutrient and carbon cycling. Major challenges and research priorities are (1) to couple the dynamics of zoobenthic biomass and metabolism to sediment reactive-transport in models, (2) to test and validate model formulations against real-world data to better incorporate the context-dependency of processes in heterogeneous coastal areas in models and (3) to capture the role of stochastic events.

Artificial Reefs in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Community Ecology Amid the “Ocean Sprawl”

Schulze A, Erdner DL, Grimes CJ, Holstein DM, Miglietta MPia. Artificial Reefs in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Community Ecology Amid the “Ocean Sprawl”. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00447/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The northern Gulf of Mexico has been an important source for crude oil and natural gas extraction since the 1930s. Thousands of fixed platforms and associated equipment have been installed on the Gulf of Mexico continental shelf, leading to a pervasive ‘ocean sprawl.’ After decommissioning, 100s of these structures have been converted to artificial reefs under the federal ‘Rigs-to-Reefs’ program, in addition to artificial reefs specifically designed to enhance fisheries and/or benefit the recreational diving industry. Apart from a few natural banks, which reach to approximately 55 ft below the surface, artificial reefs provide the only shallow-water hard substrate for benthic organisms in the deeper waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. This vast expansion in available habitat has almost exclusively occurred over a relatively short span of time (∼50 years). The ecological interactions of artificial and natural reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico are complex. Artificial reefs in general, and oil and gas structures in particular, have often been invoked as stepping stones for non-native and invasive species (e.g., Tubastrea cup corals, lionfish). The pilings are covered with fouling communities which remain largely unstudied. While the risks of these fouling organisms for invading natural reefs are being broadly discussed, other impacts on the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico, such as the potential to facilitate jellyfish blooms or increase the incidence of ciguatera fish poisoning, have received less attention. Artificial reefs also provide ecosystem services, particularly as habitat for economically important fish species like red snapper. Here we revisit the potential role of artificial reefs as ‘stepping stones’ for species invasions and for fisheries enhancement. Beyond concerns about ecological effects, some of these topics also raise public health concerns. We point out gaps in current knowledge and propose future research directions.

Blue Carbon Stocks and Cross-Habitat Subsidies

Bulmer RHugh, Stephenson F, Jones HFE, Townsend M, Hillman JR, Schwendenmann L, Lundquist CJ. Blue Carbon Stocks and Cross-Habitat Subsidies. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00380/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Blue carbon ecosystems (including saltmarsh, mangrove, seagrass meadows, and other soft sediment habitats) play a valuable role in aquatic carbon dynamics and contribute significantly to global climate change mitigation. However, these habitats are undergoing rapid and accelerating shifts in extent due to climate change and anthropogenic impacts. Here, we demonstrate that blue carbon stocks vary across habitats and that cross-habitat subsidies of carbon contribute significantly to blue carbon stocks. Using a case study estuary from New Zealand, organic carbon stocks in above ground biomass and sediment to 100 cm varied significantly between habitat types, from saltmarsh (90 t ha–1), to mangrove (46 t ha–1), to seagrass (27 t ha–1) and unvegetated habitats (26 t ha–1). Despite being typically overlooked in blue carbon literature, unvegetated habitats contained the majority of estuarine carbon stocks when adjusted for their large extent within the estuary (occupying 68.4% of the estuarine area and containing 57% of carbon stocks). When carbon stocks were further refined based on δ13C and δ15N mixing model results, coastal vegetation (saltmarsh, mangrove, and seagrass) was found to provide important cross-habitat subsidies of carbon throughout the estuary, including contributing an estimated 41% of organic carbon within unvegetated sediments, and 51% of the total carbon stock throughout the estuary (yet occupying only 31.6% of the estuary). Given the connected nature of blue carbon ecosystems these findings illustrate the importance of considering the contribution and cross-habitat subsidies of both vegetated and unvegetated habitats to blue carbon stocks in estuaries. This provides critical context when assessing the impact of shifts in habitat distributions due to impacts from climate change and anthropogenic stressors.

Global Deep-Sea Biodiversity Research Trends Highlighted by Science Mapping Approach

Costa C, Fanelli E, Marini S, Danovaro R, Aguzzi J. Global Deep-Sea Biodiversity Research Trends Highlighted by Science Mapping Approach. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00384/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1361476_45_Marine_20200625_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The scientific literature available on deep-sea biodiversity is ample and covers a wide array of objectives, geographic areas, and topics. It also explores the links between ecosystem functioning and productivity as well as modeling, management, and exploitation. New statistical analytical tools now allow the comprehensive monitoring of the status of deep-sea research to highlight global research topics and their trends, which deserve further development and economic investments. Here, we used a science mapping approach to provide a global and systematic bibliometric synthesis of these current research topics and their trends to identify the size, growth, trajectory, and geographic distribution of scientific efforts as well as to highlight the emerging topics. A total of 1287 deep-sea biodiversity publications were retrieved from the Scopus database from 1993 to the present. Both established and emerging research topics were identified: (i) biogeochemical, microbial, and molecular analyses; (ii) biodiversity assessments; (iii) ecosystem conservation and management; and, finally, (iv) zoology and taxocoenosis. The temporal change in research activity (which was assessed by subdividing publications into blocks from 1993 to 2010 and 2011 to 2019) demonstrated that the “biogeochemical, microbial, and molecular analyses” cluster was not present from 1993 to 2010 since it was included in the cluster for “biodiversity assessments,” which it eventually diverged from in the following couple of decades. The United States took the dominant role in research, followed by the United Kingdom; Germany and France were also evidenced. China was particularly associated with the United States.

Estimating the Potential Blue Carbon Gains From Tidal Marsh Rehabilitation: A Case Study From South Eastern Australia

Gulliver A, Carnell PE, Trevathan-Tackett SM, Costa MDuarte de, Masqué P, Macreadie PI. Estimating the Potential Blue Carbon Gains From Tidal Marsh Rehabilitation: A Case Study From South Eastern Australia. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00403/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Historically, coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems (tidal marshes, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows) have been impacted and degraded by human intervention, mainly in the form of land acquisition. With increasing recognition of the role of blue carbon ecosystems in climate mitigation, protecting and rehabilitating these ecosystems becomes increasingly more important. This study evaluated the potential carbon gains from rehabilitating a degraded coastal tidal marsh site in south-eastern Australia. Tidal exchange at the study site had been restricted by the construction of earthen barriers for the purpose of reclaiming land for commercial salt production. Analysis of sediment cores (elemental carbon and 210Pb dating) revealed that the site had stopped accumulating carbon since it had been converted to salt ponds 65 years earlier. In contrast, nearby recovered (“control”) tidal marsh areas are still accumulating carbon at relatively high rates (0.54 tons C ha–1year–1). Using elevation and sea level rise (SLR) data, we estimated the potential future distribution of tidal marsh vegetation if the earthen barrier were removed and tidal exchange was restored to the degraded site. We estimated that the sediment-based carbon gains over the next 50 years after restoring this small site (360 ha) would be 9,000 tons C, which could offset the annual emissions of ∼7,000 passenger cars at present time (at 4.6 metric tons pa.) or ∼1,400 Australians. Overall, we recommend that this site is a promising prospect for rehabilitation based on the opportunity for blue carbon additionality, and that the business case for rehabilitation could be bolstered through valuation of other co-benefits, such as nitrogen removal, support to fisheries, sediment stabilization, and enhanced biodiversity.

Floating microplastics in a coastal embayment: A multifaceted issue

Frias JPGL, Lyashevska O, Joyce H, Pagter E, Nash R. Floating microplastics in a coastal embayment: A multifaceted issue. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2020 ;158:111361. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X20304793
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Floating microplastic debris at the ocean's surface represents about 1% of all plastics found in the environment, with the remainder thought to be either deposited along the coast or sinks to the bottom of the ocean. This exploratory research on a coastal embayment in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean assesses floating microplastic densities and the potential influence of wind. A total of 1182 floating microplastic particles were retrieved from a total surface seawater volume of 2039.86 m3. The average microplastic density (0.56 ± 0.33 MP m−3) is based on a sample of 20 manta trawls. This study reports primary microplastics (microbeads) floating in Irish coastal waters for the first-time. Compared to similar bays in Europe, Galway Bay has a similar microplastic density range. Microplastics in surface waters are a multifaceted issue therefore, multiple types of sample collection along with associated environmental variables are recommended for coastal monitoring purposes.

Pages