Sea surface temperature (SST) is a fundamental physical variable for understanding, quantifying and predicting complex interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere. Such processes determine how heat from the sun is redistributed across the global oceans, directly impacting large- and small-scale weather and climate patterns. The provision of daily maps of global SST for operational systems, climate modeling and the broader scientific community is now a mature and sustained service coordinated by the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) and the CEOS SST Virtual Constellation (CEOS SST-VC). Data streams are shared, indexed, processed, quality controlled, analyzed, and documented within a Regional/Global Task Sharing (R/GTS) framework, which is implemented internationally in a distributed manner. Products rely on a combination of low-Earth orbit infrared and microwave satellite imagery, geostationary orbit infrared satellite imagery, and in situ data from moored and drifting buoys, Argo floats, and a suite of independent, fully characterized and traceable in situ measurements for product validation (Fiducial Reference Measurements, FRM). Research and development continues to tackle problems such as instrument calibration, algorithm development, diurnal variability, derivation of high-quality skin and depth temperatures, and areas of specific interest such as the high latitudes and coastal areas. In this white paper, we review progress versus the challenges we set out 10 years ago in a previous paper, highlight remaining and new research and development challenges for the next 10 years (such as the need for sustained continuity of passive microwave SST using a 6.9 GHz channel), and conclude with needs to achieve an integrated global high-resolution SST observing system, with focus on satellite observations exploited in conjunction with in situSSTs. The paper directly relates to the theme of Data Information Systems and also contributes to Ocean Observing Governance and Ocean Technology and Networks within the OceanObs2019 objectives. Applications of SST contribute to all the seven societal benefits, covering Discovery; Ecosystem Health & Biodiversity; Climate Variability & Change; Water, Food, & Energy Security; Pollution & Human Health; Hazards and Maritime Safety; and the Blue Economy.
Sediment disturbances are important threats affecting marine biodiversity, but the variety of biological responses has not yet been synthesized. Here, we collate all available information to compare the extent of impacts across different taxonomic groups, habitat types and pathways of impact (light attenuation, suspended sediment and sedimentation).
Data collected from 1979 to 2017.
Major taxa studied
Corals, fishes, seagrasses, sponges, macroalgae, ascidians, bryozoans, crustaceans, echinoderms, molluscs and polychaetes.
We used meta‐analyses to evaluate the effects of sediments across 842 observations found in 110 publications. We also evaluated some of the biological and methodological factors that could explain the variable effects observed in different studies.
We found a significant negative effect of sediments on behavioural responses of species, reproduction and recruitment processes, the morphology of organisms, physiology, community abundance and diversity, and species interactions. In contrast, the overall effect on the abundance of individual species was statistically non‐significant and there was a strong positive effect on abundance for sponge and polychaete species. Many individual studies described physiological effects on coral reefs, but the effects on the diversity of soft‐bottom and coral reef communities were particularly detrimental. Phototrophic species were generally more negatively impacted by sediments than heterotrophs, driven by strong physiological responses in crustose coralline algae and seagrasses. Additionally, species with limited mobility were more vulnerable to sediment disturbances than highly mobile species. Sedimentation alone triggered more consistently negative effects on most biological responses than light depletion and suspended sediments. We found evidence for increased impacts on community diversity when more than one pathway of impact was present, indicating that these disturbances can disrupt whole ecosystems.
Our meta‐analysis provided, for the first time, strong quantitative support of negative effects of sediments on marine biodiversity. Taxonomic groups, habitat types and life‐history characteristics were most influential in determining the biological responses to sediment disturbances, highlighting the importance of an ecosystem‐based approach when fully accounting for the impacts of sediments.
Estimates of connectivity are vital for understanding population dynamics and for the design of spatial management areas. However, this is still a major challenge in the marine environment because the relative contributions of factors influencing connectivity amongst subpopulations are difficult to assess. This study combined population genetics with hydrodynamic modelling (Regional Ocean Modeling System, ROMS) to assess spatial and temporal exchange of individuals among subpopulations of the New Zealand scallop, Pecten novaezelandiae, within the Coromandel fishery area open to commercial fishing. Significant genetic differentiation was revealed among subpopulations with variable levels of recruitment. Connectivity, as assessed by ROMS, was a significant explanatory variable of genetic differentiation when accounting for the spatial dependency between locations. Although additional research is needed before source-sink population dynamics can be confidently used in management, these results imply that higher yields could be available from this fishery at lower risk of over-exploitation if the fishing of each subpopulation could be tailored to its contribution to recruitment, perhaps using subpopulation catch limits. This study highlights inter-annual patterns of connectivity, the importance of combining different methods for a better prediction of population dynamics, and how such an approach may contribute to management of living marine resources.
The idea that interspecific variation in trophic morphology among closely related species effectively permits resource partitioning has driven research on ecological radiation since Darwin first described variation in beak morphology among Geospiza.
Marine turtles comprise an ecological radiation in which interspecific differences in trophic morphology have similarly been implicated as a pathway to ecopartition the marine realm, in both extant and extinct species. Because marine turtles are charismatic flagship species of conservation concern, their trophic ecology has been studied intensively using stable isotope analyses to gain insights into habitat use and diet, principally to inform conservation management. This legion of studies provides an unparalleled opportunity to examine ecological partitioning across numerous hierarchical levels that heretofore has not been applied to any other ecological radiation. Our contribution aims to provide a quantitative analysis of interspecific variation and a comprehensive review of intraspecific variation in trophic ecology across different hierarchical levels marshalling insights about realised trophic ecology derived from stable isotopes.
We reviewed 113 stable isotope studies, mostly involving single species, and conducted a meta‐analysis of data from adults to elucidate differences in trophic ecology among species. Our study reveals a more intricate hierarchy of ecopartitioning by marine turtles than previously recognised based on trophic morphology and dietary analyses. We found strong statistical support for interspecific partitioning, as well as a continuum of intraspecific trophic sub‐specialisation in most species across several hierarchical levels. This ubiquity of trophic specialisation across many hierarchical levels exposes a far more complex view of trophic ecology and resource‐axis exploitation than suggested by species diversity alone. Not only do species segregate along many widely understood axes such as body size, macrohabitat, and trophic morphology but the general pattern revealed by isotopic studies is one of microhabitat segregation and variation in foraging behaviour within species, within populations, and among individuals.
These findings are highly relevant to conservation management because they imply ecological non‐exchangeability, which introduces a new dimension beyond that of genetic stocks which drives current conservation planning.
Perhaps the most remarkable finding from our data synthesis is that four of six marine turtle species forage across several trophic levels. This pattern is unlike that seen in other large marine predators, which forage at a single trophic level according to stable isotopes. This finding affirms suggestions that marine turtles are robust sentinels of ocean health and likely stabilise marine food webs. This insight has broader significance for studies of marine food webs and trophic ecology of large marine predators.
Beyond insights concerning marine turtle ecology and conservation, our findings also have broader implications for the study of ecological radiations. Particularly, the unrecognised complexity of ecopartitioning beyond that predicted by trophic morphology suggests that this dominant approach in adaptive radiation research likely underestimates the degree of resource overlap and that interspecific disparities in trophic morphology may often over‐predict the degree of realised ecopartitioning. Hence, our findings suggest that stable isotopes can profitably be applied to study other ecological radiations and may reveal trophic variation beyond that reflected by trophic morphology.
Telepresence-enabled operations by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) allow many researchers a unique perspective on morphology, behavior, and small-scale distributions of deep-sea animals. I present some examples of cephalopod natural history from recent ROV dives in the central Pacific Ocean. These examples include clues to reproductive behavior of deep-sea squids and cirrate “dumbo” octopods. During March 7–12, 2017, the ROV Deep Discoverer (D2) operating from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer recorded high-definition video of several squid in the genus Chiroteuthis. These included a mature male, a mature female, and a moribund squid identifiable as C. picteti. The female had obviously mated, with spermatangia implanted in many locations, and was holding in its arms another squid that appeared to be another Chiroteuthis. Considered together, these observations may indicate a deep-sea spawning aggregation and, possibly, sexual cannibalism. Another series of observations by D2 revealed eggs of cirrate octopods attached to octocorals. The remarkable thing about these observations was that in two of them (March 18 and May 4) the egg chorion had swollen and burst the external egg capsule. This may explain how the hatching embryo is able to escape from the tough protective coating secreted by the oviducal gland of cirrates but not secreted by the better-known incirrate octopods.
Ocean surface winds, currents, and waves play a crucial role in exchanges of momentum, energy, heat, freshwater, gases, and other tracers between the ocean, atmosphere, and ice. Despite surface waves being strongly coupled to the upper ocean circulation and the overlying atmosphere, efforts to improve ocean, atmospheric, and wave observations and models have evolved somewhat independently. From an observational point of view, community efforts to bridge this gap have led to proposals for satellite Doppler oceanography mission concepts, which could provide unprecedented measurements of absolute surface velocity and directional wave spectrum at global scales. This paper reviews the present state of observations of surface winds, currents, and waves, and it outlines observational gaps that limit our current understanding of coupled processes that happen at the air-sea-ice interface. A significant challenge for the coming decade of wind, current, and wave observations will come in combining and interpreting measurements from (a) wave-buoys and high-frequency radars in coastal regions, (b) surface drifters and wave-enabled drifters in the open-ocean, marginal ice zones, and wave-current interaction “hot-spots,” and (c) simultaneous measurements of absolute surface currents, ocean surface wind vector, and directional wave spectrum from Doppler satellite sensors.
We investigate the role of a warm sea-surface temperature (SST) anomaly (hot-spot of typically 3 K to 5 K) on the aggregation of convection using cloud resolving simulations in a non-rotating framework. It is well known that SST gradients can spatially organize convection. Even with uniform SST, the spontaneous self-aggregation of convection is possible above a critical SST (here 295 K), arising mainly from radiative feedbacks. We investigate how a circular hot-spot helps organize convection, and how self-aggregation feedbacks modulate this organization. The hot-spot significantly accelerates aggregation, particularly for warmer/larger hot-spots, and extends the range of SSTs for which aggregation occurs, however at cold SST (290 K) the aggregated cluster disaggregates if we remove the hot-spot. Large convective instability over the hot-spot leads to stronger convection and generates a large-scale circulation which forces the subsidence drying outside the hot-spot. Indeed, convection over the hot-spot brings the atmosphere towards a warmer temperature. The warmer temperatures are imprinted over the whole domain by gravity waves and subsidence warming. The initial transient warming and concomitant subsidence drying suppress convection outside the hot-spot, thus driving the aggregation. The hot-spot induced large-scale circulation can enforce the aggregation even without radiative feedbacks for hot-spots sufficiently large/warm. The strength of the large-scale circulation, which defines the speed of aggregation, is a function of the hot-spot fractional area. At equilibrium, once the aggregation is well established, the moist convective region with upward mid-tropospheric motion, centered over the hot-spot, has an area surprisingly independent of the hot-spot size.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses have enabled more efficient surveillance of species distribution and composition than conventional methods. However, the characteristics and dynamics of eDNA (e.g., origin, state, transport, and fate) remain unknown. This is especially limited for the eDNA derived from nuclei (nu-eDNA), which has recently been used in eDNA analyses. Here, we compared the particle size distribution (PSD) of nu-eDNA from Japanese Jack Mackerel (Trachurus japonicus) with that of mt-eDNA (eDNA derived from mitochondria) reported in previous studies. We repeatedly sampled rearing water from the tanks with multiple temperature and fish biomass levels, and quantified the copy numbers of size-fractioned nu-eDNA. We found that the concentration of nu-eDNA was higher than that of mt-eDNA at 3-10 µm size fraction. Moreover, at the 0.8-3 µm and 0.4-0.8 µm size fractions, eDNA concentrations of both types increased with higher temperature and their degradation tended to be suppressed. These results imply that the production of eDNA from large to small size fractions could buffer the degradation of small-sized eDNA, which could improve its persistence in water. Our findings will contribute to refine the difference between nu- and mt-eDNA properties, and assist eDNA analyses as an efficient tool for the conservation of aquatic species.
The building blocks of a virus derived from de novo biosynthesis during infection and/or catabolism of preexisting host cell biomass, and the relative contribution of these 2 sources has important consequences for understanding viral biogeochemistry. We determined the uptake of extracellular nitrogen (N) and its biosynthetic incorporation into both virus and host proteins using an isotope-labeling proteomics approach in a model marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus WH8102 infected by a lytic cyanophage S-SM1. By supplying dissolved N as 15N postinfection, we found that proteins in progeny phage particles were composed of up to 41% extracellularly derived N, while proteins of the infected host cell showed almost no isotope incorporation, demonstrating that de novo amino acid synthesis continues during infection and contributes specifically and substantially to phage replication. The source of N for phage protein synthesis shifted over the course of infection from mostly host derived in the early stages to more medium derived later on. We show that the photosystem II reaction center proteins D1 and D2, which are auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) in the S-SM1 genome, are made de novo during infection in an apparently light-dependent manner. We also identified a small set of host proteins that continue to be produced during infection; the majority are homologs of AMGs in S-SM1 or other viruses, suggesting selective continuation of host protein production during infection. The continued acquisition of nutrients by the infected cell and their utilization for phage replication are significant for both evolution and biogeochemical impact of viruses.
Bluehead wrasses undergo dramatic, socially cued female-to-male sex change. We apply transcriptomic and methylome approaches in this wild coral reef fish to identify the primary trigger and subsequent molecular cascade of gonadal metamorphosis. Our data suggest that the environmental stimulus is exerted via the stress axis and that repression of the aromatase gene (encoding the enzyme converting androgens to estrogens) triggers a cascaded collapse of feminizing gene expression and identifies notable sex-specific gene neofunctionalization. Furthermore, sex change involves distinct epigenetic reprogramming and an intermediate state with altered epigenetic machinery expression akin to the early developmental cells of mammals. These findings reveal at a molecular level how a normally committed developmental process remains plastic and is reversed to completely alter organ structures.