Browsing by Subject "MARINE"

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  • Chernikova, Tatyana; Bargiela, Rafael; Toshchakov, Stepan V.; Shivaraman, Vignesh; Lunev, Evgenii A.; Yakimov, Michail M.; Thomas, David Neville; Golyshin, Peter N. (2020)
    Marine hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria play an important role in natural petroleum biodegradation processes and were initially associated with man-made oil spills or natural seeps. There is no full clarity though on what, in the absence of petroleum, their natural niches are. Few studies pointed at some marine microalgae that produce oleophilic compounds (alkanes, long-chain fatty acids, and alcohols) as potential natural hosts of these bacteria. We established Dansk crude oil-based enrichment cultures with photobioreactor-grown marine microalgae cultures Pavlova lutheri and Nannochloropsis oculata and analyzed the microbial succession using cultivation and SSU (16S) rRNA amplicon sequencing. We found that petroleum enforced a strong selection for members of Alpha- and Gamma-proteobacteria in both enrichment cultures with the prevalence of Alcanivorax and Marinobacter spp., well-known hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria. In total, 48 non-redundant bacterial strains were isolated and identified to represent genera Alcanivorax, Marinobacter, Thalassospira, Hyphomonas, Halomonas, Marinovum, Roseovarius, and Oleibacter, which were abundant in sequencing reads in both crude oil enrichments. Our assessment of public databases demonstrated some overlaps of geographical sites of isolation of Nannochloropsis and Pavlova with places of molecular detection and isolation of Alcanivorax and Marinobacter spp. Our study suggests that these globally important hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria are associated with P. lutheri and N. oculata.
  • Adams, Michael P.; Atanasova, Nina S.; Sofieva, Svetlana; Ravantti, Janne; Heikkinen, Aino; Brasseur, Zoe; Duplissy, Jonathan; Bamford, Dennis H.; Murray, Benjamin J. (2021)
    In order to effectively predict the formation of ice in clouds we need to know which subsets of aerosol particles are effective at nucleating ice, how they are distributed and where they are from. A large proportion of ice-nucleating particles (INPs) in many locations are likely of biological origin, and some INPs are extremely small, being just tens of nanometres in size. The identity and sources of such INPs are not well characterized. Here, we show that several different types of virus particles can nucleate ice, with up to about 1 in 20 million virus particles able to nucleate ice at -20 degrees C. In terms of the impact on cloud glaciation, the ice-nucleating ability (the fraction which are ice nucleation active as a function of temperature) taken together with typical virus particle concentrations in the atmosphere leads to the conclusion that virus particles make a minor contribution to the atmospheric ice-nucleating particle population in the terrestrial-influenced atmosphere. However, they cannot be ruled out as being important in the remote marine atmosphere. It is striking that virus particles have an ice-nucleating activity, and further work should be done to explore other types of viruses for both their ice-nucleating potential and to understand the mechanism by which viruses nucleate ice.
  • Ramos-Roman, Maria J.; De Jonge, Cindy; Magyari, Eniko; Veres, Daniel; Ilvonen, Liisa; Develle, Anne-Lise; Seppä, Heikki (2022)
    To reconstruct changes in vegetation, temperature, and sediment geochemistry through the last 6.5 cal ka BP, in the Subcarpathian belt of the Eastern Carpathians (Romania), pollen, branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) and X-ray fluorescence analyses have been integrated. Pollen and brGDGTs (a bacterial lipid biomarker proxy) are used as paleothermometers for reconstructing the mean annual air temperature (MAAT) and mean temperature above freezing (MAF), respectively. Both proxies show roughly consistent records. The highest MAAT and MAF occurs during the oldest part of the record (from 6.5 to 4.2 cal ka BP), and the Middle to the Late Holocene shift is marked by a prominent decrease in temperature between 5.4 and 4.2 cal ka BP, coinciding with Bond event 4 and 3. This transition is coeval with a decrease in summer insolation, shift from consistent NAO-conditions to a predominance of NAO+ phase and coincides with the beginning of the Neoglacial cooling in northern latitudes. The warm bias in the MAF reconstruction during the Late Holocene is explained as a change in the lipid provenance or in the composition of the brGDGT producers after 4.2 cal ka BP.
  • Voss, Maren; Asmala, Eero; Bartl, Ines; Carstensen, Jacob; Conley, Daniel J.; Dippner, Joachim W.; Humborg, Christoph; Lukkari, Kaarina; Petkuviene, Jolita; Reader, Heather; Stedmon, Colin; Vybernaite-Lubiene, Irma; Wannicke, Nicola; Zilius, Mindaugas (2020)
    Coastal waters have strong gradients in dissolved organic matter (DOM) quantity and characteristics, originating from terrestrial inputs and autochthonous production. Enclosed seas with high freshwater input therefore experience high DOM concentrations and gradients from freshwater sources to more saline waters. The brackish Baltic Sea experiences such salinity gradients from east to west and from river mouths to the open sea. Furthermore, the catchment areas of the Baltic Sea are very diverse and vary from sparsely populated northern areas to densely populated southern zones. Coastal systems vary from enclosed or open bays, estuaries, fjords, archipelagos and lagoons where the residence time of DOM at these sites varies and may control the extent to which organic matter is biologically, chemically or physically modified or simply diluted with transport off-shore. Data of DOM with simultaneous measurements of dissolved organic (DO) nitrogen (N), carbon (C) and phosphorus (P) across a range of contrasting coastal systems are scarce. Here we present data from the Roskilde Fjord, Vistula and Öre estuaries and Curonian Lagoon; four coastal systems with large differences in salinity, nutrient concentrations, freshwater inflow and catchment characteristics. The C:N:P ratios of DOM of our data, despite high variability, show site specific significant differences resulting largely from differences residence time. Microbial processes seemed to have minor effects, and only in spring did uptake of DON in the Vistula and Öre estuaries take place and not at the other sites or seasons. Resuspension from sediments impacts bottom waters and the entire shallow water column in the Curonian Lagoon. Finally, our data combined with published data show that land use in the catchments seems to impact the DOC:DON and DOC:DOP ratios of the tributaries most.
  • Colclough, Abigail; Corander, Jukka; Sheppard, Samuel K.; Bayliss, Sion C.; Vos, Michiel (2019)
    Bacteria interact with a multitude of other organisms, many of which produce antimicrobials. Selection for resistance to these antimicrobials has the potential to result in resistance to clinical antibiotics when active compounds target the same bacterial pathways. The possibility of such cross-resistance between natural antimicrobials and antibiotics has to our knowledge received very little attention. The antimicrobial activity of extracts from seaweeds, known to be prolific producers of antimicrobials, is here tested against Staphylococcus aureus isolates with varied clinical antibiotic resistance profiles. An overall effect consistent with cross-resistance is demonstrated, with multidrug-resistant S. aureus strains being on average more resistant to seaweed extracts. This pattern could potentially indicate that evolution of resistance to antimicrobials in the natural environment could lead to resistance against clinical antibiotics. However, patterns of antimicrobial activity of individual seaweed extracts vary considerably and include collateral sensitivity, where increased resistance to a particular antibiotic is associated with decreased resistance to a particular seaweed extract. Our correlation-based methods allow the identification of antimicrobial extracts bearing most promise for downstream active compound identification and pharmacological testing.
  • Roslin, Tomas; Antao, Laura; Hällfors, Maria; Meyke, Evgeniy; Lo, Coong; Tikhonov, Gleb; Delgado, Maria del Mar; Gurarie, Eliezer; Abadonova, Marina; Abduraimov, Ozodbek; Adrianova, Olga; Akimova, Tatiana; Akkiev, Muzhigit; Ananin, Aleksandr; Andreeva, Elena; Andriychuk, Natalia; Antipin, Maxim; Arzamascev, Konstantin; Babina, Svetlana; Babushkin, Miroslav; Bakin, Oleg; Barabancova, Anna; Basilskaja, Inna; Belova, Nina; Belyaeva, Natalia; Bespalova, Tatjana; Bisikalova, Evgeniya; Bobretsov, Anatoly; Bobrov, Vladimir; Bobrovskyi, Vadim; Bochkareva, Elena; Bogdanov, Gennady; Bolshakov, Vladimir; Bondarchuk, Svetlana; Bukharova, Evgeniya; Butunina, Alena; Buyvolov, Yuri; Buyvolova, Anna; Bykov, Yuri; Chakhireva, Elena; Chashchina, Olga; Cherenkova, Nadezhda; Chistjakov, Sergej; Chuhontseva, Svetlana; Davydov, Evgeniy A.; Demchenko, Viktor; Diadicheva, Elena; Dobrolyubov, Aleksandr; Dostoyevskaya, Ludmila; Drovnina, Svetlana; Drozdova, Zoya; Dubanaev, Akynaly; Dubrovsky, Yuriy; Elsukov, Sergey; Epova, Lidia; Ermakova, Olga S.; Ermakova, Olga S.; Ershkova, Elena; Esengeldenova, Aleksandra; Evstigneev, Oleg; Fedchenko, Irina; Fedotova, Violetta; Filatova, Tatiana; Gashev, Sergey; Gavrilov, Anatoliy; Gaydysh, Irina; Golovcov, Dmitrij; Goncharova, Nadezhda; Gorbunova, Elena; Gordeeva, Tatyana; Grishchenko, Vitaly; Gromyko, Ludmila; Hohryakov, Vladimir; Hritankov, Alexander; Ignatenko, Elena; Igosheva, Svetlana; Ivanova, Uliya; Ivanova, Natalya; Kalinkin, Yury; Kaygorodova, Evgeniya; Kazansky, Fedor; Kiseleva, Darya; Knorre, Anastasia; Kolpashikov, Leonid; Korobov, Evgenii; Korolyova, Helen; Korotkikh, Natalia; Kosenkov, Gennadiy; Kossenko, Sergey; Kotlugalyamova, Elvira; Kozlovsky, Evgeny; Kozsheechkin, Vladimir; Kozurak, Alla; Kozyr, Irina; Krasnopevtseva, Aleksandra; Kruglikov, Sergey; Kuberskaya, Olga; Kudryavtsev, Aleksey; Kulebyakina, Elena; Kulsha, Yuliia; Kupriyanova, Margarita; Kurbanbagamaev, Murad; Kutenkov, Anatoliy; Kutenkova, Nadezhda; Kuyantseva, Nadezhda; Kuznetsov, Andrey; Larin, Evgeniy; Lebedev, Pavel; Litvinov, Kirill; Luzhkova, Natalia; Mahmudov, Azizbek; Makovkina, Lidiya; Mamontov, Viktor; Mayorova, Svetlana; Megalinskaja, Irina; Meydus, Artur; Minin, Aleksandr; Mitrofanov, Oleg; Motruk, Mykhailo; Myslenkov, Aleksandr; Nasonova, Nina; Nemtseva, Natalia; Nesterova, Irina; Nezdoliy, Tamara; Niroda, Tatyana; Novikova, Tatiana; Panicheva, Darya; Pavlov, Alexey; Pavlova, Klara; Podolski, Sergei; Polikarpova, Natalja; Polyanskaya, Tatiana; Pospelov, Igor; Pospelova, Elena; Prokhorov, Ilya; Prokosheva, Irina; Puchnina, Lyudmila; Putrashyk, Ivan; Raiskaya, Julia; Rozhkov, Yuri; Rozhkova, Olga; Rudenko, Marina; Rybnikova, Irina; Rykova, Svetlana; Sahnevich, Miroslava; Samoylov, Alexander; Sanko, Valeri; Sapelnikova, Inna; Sazonov, Sergei; Selyunina, Zoya; Shalaeva, Ksenia; Shashkov, Maksim; Shcherbakov, Anatoliy; Shevchyk, Vasyl; Shubin, Sergej; Shujskaja, Elena; Sibgatullin, Rustam; Sikkila, Natalia; Sitnikova, Elena; Sivkov, Andrei; Skok, Nataliya; Skorokhodova, Svetlana; Smirnova, Elena; Sokolova, Galina; Sopin, Vladimir; Spasovski, Yurii; Stepanov, Sergei; Stratiy, Vitaliy; Strekalovskaya, Violetta; Sukhov, Alexander; Suleymanova, Guzalya; Sultangareeva, Lilija; Teleganova, Viktorija; Teplov, Viktor; Teplova, Valentina; Tertitsa, Tatiana; Timoshkin, Vladislav; Tirski, Dmitry; Tolmachev, Andrej; Tomilin, Aleksey; Tselishcheva, Ludmila; Turgunov, Mirabdulla; Tyukh, Yurij; Van, Polina; Van, Vladimir; Vasin, Aleksander; Vasina, Aleksandra; Vekliuk, Anatoliy; Vetchinnikova, Lidia; Vinogradov, Vladislav; Volodchenkov, Nikolay; Voloshina, Inna; Xoliqov, Tura; Yablonovska-Grishchenko, Eugenia; Yakovlev, Vladimir; Yakovleva, Marina; Yantser, Oksana; Yarema, Yurij; Zahvatov, Andrey; Zakharov, Valery; Zelenetskiy, Nicolay; Zheltukhin, Anatolii; Zubina, Tatyana; Kurhinen, Juri; Ovaskainen, Otso (2021)
    Ongoing climate change can shift organism phenology in ways that vary depending on species, habitats and climate factors studied. To probe for large-scale patterns in associated phenological change, we use 70,709 observations from six decades of systematic monitoring across the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Among 110 phenological events related to plants, birds, insects, amphibians and fungi, we find a mosaic of change, defying simple predictions of earlier springs, later autumns and stronger changes at higher latitudes and elevations. Site mean temperature emerged as a strong predictor of local phenology, but the magnitude and direction of change varied with trophic level and the relative timing of an event. Beyond temperature-associated variation, we uncover high variation among both sites and years, with some sites being characterized by disproportionately long seasons and others by short ones. Our findings emphasize concerns regarding ecosystem integrity and highlight the difficulty of predicting climate change outcomes. The authors use systematic monitoring across the former USSR to investigate phenological changes across taxa. The long-term mean temperature of a site emerged as a strong predictor of phenological change, with further imprints of trophic level, event timing, site, year and biotic interactions.
  • Fang, Bohao; Kemppainen, Petri; Momigliano, Paolo; Merila, Juha (2021)
    Population genetic theory predicts that small effective population sizes (N-e) and restricted gene flow limit the potential for local adaptation. In particular, the probability of evolving similar phenotypes based on shared genetic mechanisms (i.e., parallel evolution), is expected to be reduced. We tested these predictions in a comparative genomic study of two ecologically similar and geographically codistributed stickleback species (viz. Gasterosteus aculeatus and Pungitius pungitius). We found that P. pungitius harbors less genetic diversity and exhibits higher levels of genetic differentiation and isolation-by-distance than G. aculeatus. Conversely, G. aculeatus exhibits a stronger degree of genetic parallelism across freshwater populations than P. pungitius: 2,996 versus 379 single nucleotide polymorphisms located within 26 versus 9 genomic regions show evidence of selection in multiple freshwater populations of G. aculeatus and P. pungitius, respectively. Most regions involved in parallel evolution in G. aculeatus showed increased levels of divergence, suggestive of selection on ancient haplotypes. In contrast, haplotypes involved in freshwater adaptation in P. pungitius were younger. In accordance with theory, the results suggest that connectivity and genetic drift play crucial roles in determining the levels and geographic distribution of standing genetic variation, providing evidence that population subdivision limits local adaptation and therefore also the likelihood of parallel evolution.
  • Bernard, Guillaume; Gammal, Johanna; Järnström, Marie; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Bioturbation by benthic macrofauna communities plays a significant role in the setting and maintenance of important ecosystem functions and the delivery of associated ecosystem services. We investigated the context-dependence of bioturbation performed by natural benthic communities in the coastal northern Baltic Sea by quantifying three bioturbation metrics (particle mixing intensity, surface sediment reworking and bioturbation depth) across 18 sites ranging from cohesive muddy sediments to non-cohesive coarse sands, while accounting for the complexity of natural communities and habitat characteristics. We identified two distinct patterns of bioturbation; in fine sediments bioturbation rates were highly variable and in coarse sediments bioturbation rates were less variable and characterized by lower maximal values. Using distance-based linear multiple regressions, we found that 75.5% of the variance in bioturbation rates in fine sediment could be explained by key functional groups/species abundance and/or biomass (i.e. biomass of the gallery-diffusors and abundances of biodiffusors, surface modifiers, conveyors and gallery diffusors, respectively). In coarse sediment, 47.8% of the variance in bioturbation rates could be explained by a combination of environmental factors (grain size, organic matter content, buried plant material) and faunal functional groups, although fauna alone explained only 13% of this variance. Bioturbation in fine sediments was therefore more predictable based on the composition of benthic fauna. In coarse sediment, the bioturbation activities of benthic fauna were strongly modified by habitat characteristics (including the presence of buried plant material, sediment organic content and grain size) whereas in fine sediments this was not the case. Our results therefore highlight that variability in spatial patterns of bioturbation is a result of complex relationships between macrofauna community structure, sediment type and other habitat characteristics, likely modifying bioturbation performance of individual fauna.
  • Paczkowska, Joanna; Brugel, Sonia; Rowe, Owen; Lefebure, Robert; Brutemark, Andreas; Andersson, Agneta (2020)
    Climate change scenarios project that precipitation will increase in northern Europe, causing amplified inflows of terrestrial matter (tM) and inorganic nutrients to coastal areas. How this will affect the plankton community is poorly understood. A mesocosm experiment was carried out to investigate the influence of two levels of tM inputs on the composition, size-structure and productivity of a natural coastal phytoplankton community from the northern Baltic Sea. The tM addition caused browning of the water and decreased underwater light levels, while the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and inorganic nutrients increased. Microphytoplankton were promoted by tM addition, while in the controls picophytoplankton dominated the phytoplankton community. Inorganic nutrient availability was instrumental in defining the phytoplankton community composition and size-structure. As a response to tM addition, the phytoplankton increased their chlorophyll a content. This physiological adaptation helped to maintain high primary production rates at the low tM enrichment, but at the high tM load the primary production decreased as did the biomass of mesozooplankton. The ciliate biomass was high when the mesozooplankton biomass was low, indicating that a trophic cascade occurred in the system. Structural equation modeling showed that tM borne DOC promoted ciliates, while primary and bacterial production were disfavored. Thus, DOC originating from soils had an indirect negative effect on the mesozooplankton by reducing their food availability. Although, a positive correlation between heterotrophic bacteria and phytoplankton suggested coupling between phytoplankton produced carbon and heterotrophs growth. The results from our study indicate that river-borne DOC and inorganic nutrients have a large impact on the phytoplankton community, driving the system to the dominance of large diatoms. However, since river-borne humic substances cause browning of the water, phytoplankton increase their light harvesting pigments. At moderate inflow this helps to support the primary production, but at high inflows of terrestrial material the primary production will decrease. As high river inflows have been projected to be a consequence of climate change, we foresee that primary production will decrease in coastal areas in the future, and the impacts of such changes on the food web could be significant.
  • Asmala, Eero; Gustafsson, Camilla; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Norkko, Alf; Reader, Heather; Staehr, Peter A.; Carstensen, Jacob (2019)
    Coastal ecosystems act as filters of nutrients from land to the open sea. We investigated the role of eelgrass (Zostera marina) metabolism in the coastal filter transforming nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon. Field campaigns following identical methodologies were carried out at two contrasting coastal locations: the mesohaline and nutrient-rich Roskilde Fjord, Denmark, and the mesotrophic brackish Tvärminne archipelago, Finland. Over the 24-h in situ benthic incubations, we measured oxygen concentrations continuously and assessed changes in DOM characteristics and net fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Ecosystem metabolism modeled on the basis of the O2 data showed that the systems were either net heterotrophic (Roskilde Fjord; − 1.6 and − 2.4 g O2 m−2 day−1 in eelgrass meadow and bare sand, respectively) or had balanced primary production and respiration (Tvärminne; 0.0 and 0.2 g O2 m−2 day−1). Overall, initial nutrient stoichiometry was a key factor determining benthic–pelagic fluxes of nutrients, which exacerbated the deviations from Redfield ratios of N and P, indicating an efficient use of the limiting nutrient. A net diel uptake of dissolved inorganic N was observed at both locations (− 2.3 μmol l−1 day−1 in Roskilde Fjord and − 0.1 μmol l−1 day−1 in Tvärminne). Despite minor changes in dissolved organic carbon concentrations during the incubations, a marked increase of fluorescent DOM was observed at both locations, suggesting rapid heterotrophic processing of the DOM pool. Our results underline that the biogeochemical role of eelgrass in the coastal filter is not inherent, but strongly dependent on the environmental conditions.
  • Kunnasranta, Mervi; Niemi, Marja; Auttila, Miina; Valtonen, Mia; Kammonen, Juhana; Nyman, Tommi (2021)
    Wildlife species living in proximity with humans often suffer from various anthropogenic factors. Here, we focus on the endangered Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis), which lives in close connection with humans in Lake Saimaa, Finland. This unique endemic population has remained landlocked since the last glacial period, and it currently consists of only similar to 400 individuals. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the Saimaa ringed seal, identify the main risk factors and discuss the efficacy of conservation actions put in place to ensure its long-term survival. The main threats for this rare subspecies are bycatch mortality, habitat destruction and increasingly mild winters. Climate change, together with small population size and an extremely impoverished gene pool, forms a new severe threat. The main conservation actions and priorities for the Saimaa ringed seal are implementation of fishing closures, land-use planning, protected areas, and reduction of pup mortality. Novel innovations, such as provisioning of artificial nest structures, may become increasingly important in the future. Although the Saimaa ringed seal still faces the risk of extinction, the current positive trend in the number of seals shows that endangered wildlife populations can recover even in regions with considerable human inhabitation, when legislative protection is combined with intensive research, engagement of local inhabitants, and innovative conservation actions. Such multifaceted conservation approaches are needed in a world with a growing human population and a rapidly changing climate.
  • Gladstone-Gallagher, Rebecca; Tylianakis, Jason M.; Yletyinen, Johanna; Dakos, Vasilis; Douglas, Emily J.; Greenhalgh, Suzie; Hewitt, Judi E.; Hikuroa, Daniel; Lade, Steven J.; Le Heron, Richard; Norkko, Alf; Perry, George L. W.; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Schiel, David; Siwicka, Ewa; Warburton, Helen; Thrush, Simon F. (2022)
    Despite many sectors of society striving for sustainability in environmental management, humans often fail to identify and act on the connections and processes responsible for social-ecological tipping points. Part of the problem is the fracturing of environmental management and social-ecological research into ecosystem domains (land, freshwater, and sea), each with different scales and resolution of data acquisition and distinct management approaches. We present a perspective on the social-ecological connections across ecosystem domains that emphasize the need for management reprioritization to effectively connect these domains. We identify critical nexus points related to the drivers of tipping points, scales of governance, and the spatial and temporal dimensions of social-ecological processes. We combine real-world examples and a simple dynamic model to illustrate the implications of slow management responses to environmental impacts that traverse ecosystem domains. We end with guidance on management and research opportunities that arise from this cross-domain lens to foster greater opportunity to achieve environmental and sustainability goals.
  • Virta, Leena; Gammal, Johanna; Järnström, Marie; Bernard, Guillaume; Soininen, Janne; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Abstract The current decrease in biodiversity affects all ecosystems, and the impacts of diversity on ecosystem functioning need to be resolved. So far, marine studies about diversity?ecosystem productivity-relationships have concentrated on small-scale, controlled experiments, with often limited relevance to natural ecosystems. Here, we provide a real-world study on the effects of microorganismal diversity (measured as the diversity of benthic diatom communities) on ecosystem productivity (using chlorophyll a concentration as a surrogate) in a heterogeneous marine coastal archipelago. We collected 78 sediment cores at 17 sites in the northern Baltic Sea and found exceptionally high diatom diversity (328 observed species). We used structural equation models and quantile regression to explore relationships between diatom diversity and productivity. Previous studies have found contradictory results in the relationship between microorganismal diversity and ecosystem productivity, but we showed a linear and positive basal relationship between diatom diversity and productivity, which indicates that diatom diversity most likely forms the lowest boundary for productivity. Thus, although productivity can be high even when diatom diversity is low, high diatom diversity supports high productivity. The trait composition was more effective than taxonomical composition in showing such a relationship, which could be due to niche complementarity. Our results also indicated that environmental heterogeneity leads to substantial patchiness in the diversity of benthic diatom communities, mainly induced by the variation in sediment organic matter content. Therefore, future changes in precipitation and river runoff and associated changes in the quality and quantity of organic matter in the sea, will also affect diatom communities and, hence, ecosystem productivity. Our study suggests that benthic microorganisms are vital for ecosystem productivity, and together with the substantial heterogeneity of coastal ecosystems, they should be considered when evaluating the potential productivity of coastal areas.
  • Rodil, Iván Franco; Lucena-Moya, Paloma; Jokinen, Henri Matias; Ollus, Victoria; Wennhage, Håkan; Villnäs, Anna Pia Maria; Norkko, Alf (2017)
    Metacommunity ecology recognizes the interplay between local and regional patterns in contributing to spatial variation in community structure. In aquatic systems, the relative importance of such patterns depends mainly on the potential connectivity of the specific system. Thus, connectivity is expected to increase in relation to the degree of water movement, and to depend on the specific traits of the study organism. We examined the role of environmental and spatial factors in structuring benthic communities from a highly connected shallow beach network using a metacommunity approach. Both factors contributed to a varying degree to the structure of the local communities suggesting that environmental filters and dispersal-related mechanisms played key roles in determining abundance patterns. We categorized benthic taxa according to their dispersal mode (passive vs. active) and habitat specialization (generalist vs. specialist) to understand the relative importance of environment and dispersal related processes for shallow beach metacommunities. Passive dispersers were predicted by a combination of environmental and spatial factors, whereas active dispersers were not spatially structured and responded only to local environmental factors. Generalists were predicted primarily by spatial factors, while specialists were only predicted by local environmental factors. The results suggest that the role of the spatial component in metacommunity organization is greater in open coastal waters, such as shallow beaches, compared to less-connected environmentally controlled aquatic systems. Our results also reveal a strong environmental role in structuring the benthic metacommunity of shallow beaches. Specifically, we highlight the sensitivity of shallow beach macrofauna to environmental factors related to eutrophication proxies.
  • Veach, Victoria; Moilanen, Atte; Di Minin, Enrico (2017)
    Including threats in spatial conservation prioritization helps identify areas for conservation actions where biodiversity is at imminent risk of extinction. At the global level, an important limitation when identifying spatial priorities for conservation actions is the lack of information on the spatial distribution of threats. Here, we identify spatial conservation priorities under three prominent threats to biodiversity (residential and commercial development, agricultural expansion, and forest loss), which are primary drivers of habitat loss and threaten the persistence of the highest number of species in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and for which spatial data is available. We first explore how global priority areas for the conservation of vertebrate (mammals, birds, and amphibians) species coded in the Red List as vulnerable to each threat differ spatially. We then identify spatial conservation priorities for all species vulnerable to all threats. Finally, we identify the potentially most threatened areas by overlapping the identified priority areas for conservation with maps for each threat. We repeat the same with four other well-known global conservation priority area schemes, namely Key Biodiversity Areas, Biodiversity Hotspots, the global Protected Area Network, and Wilderness Areas. We find that residential and commercial development directly threatens only about 4% of the global top 17% priority areas for species vulnerable under this threat. However, 50% of the high priority areas for species vulnerable to forest loss overlap with areas that have already experienced some forest loss. Agricultural expansion overlapped with similar to 20% of high priority areas. Biodiversity Hotspots had the greatest proportion of their total area under direct threat from all threats, while expansion of low intensity agriculture was found to pose an imminent threat to Wilderness Areas under future agricultural expansion. Our results identify areas where limited resources should be allocated to mitigate risks to vertebrate species from habitat loss.
  • Manca, Federica; Mulà, Clelia; Gustafsson, Camilla; Mauri, Achille; Roslin, Tomas; Thomas, David Neville; Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro; Norkko, Alf; Strona, Giovanni (2022)
    Network theory offers innovative tools to explore the complex ecological mechanisms regulating species associations and interactions. Although interest in ecological networks has grown steadily during the last two decades, the application of network approaches has been unequally distributed across different study systems: while some kinds of interactions (e.g. plant–pollinator and host–parasite) have been extensively investigated, others remain relatively unexplored. Among the latter, aquatic macrophyte–animal associations in coastal environments have been largely neglected, despite their major role in littoral ecosystems. The ubiquity of macrophyte systems, their accessibility and multi-faceted ecological, economical and societal importance make macrophyte–animal systems an ideal subject for ecological network science. In fact, macrophyte–animal networks offer an aquatic counterpart to terrestrial plant–animal networks. In this review, we show how the application of network analysis to aquatic macrophyte–animal associations has the potential to broaden our understanding of how coastal ecosystems function. Network analysis can also provide a key to understanding how such ecosystems will respond to on-going and future threats from anthropogenic disturbance and environmental change. For this, we: (i) identify key issues that have limited the application of network theory and modelling to aquatic animal– macrophyte associations; (ii) illustrate through examples based on empirical data how network analysis can offer new insights on the complexity and functioning of coastal ecosystems; and (iii) provide suggestions for how to design future studies and establish this new research line into network ecology.