Browsing by Subject "MARINE"

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  • Harrison, Jesse P.; Chronopoulou, Panagiota-Myrsini; Salonen, Iines S.; Jilbert, Tom; Koho, Karoliina A. (2021)
    Metabarcoding analyses of bacterial and eukaryotic communities have been proposed as efficient tools for environmental impact assessment. It has been unclear, however, to which extent these analyses can provide similar or differing information on the ecological status of the environment. Here, we used 16S and 18S rRNA gene metabarcoding to compare eutrophication-induced shifts in sediment bacterial and eukaryotic community structure in relation to a range of porewater, sediment and bottom-water geochemical variables, using data obtained from six stations near a former rainbow trout farm in the Archipelago Sea (Baltic Sea). Shifts in the structure of both community types were correlated with a shared set of variables, including porewater ammonium concentrations and the sediment depth-integrated oxygen consumption rate. Distance-based redundancy analyses showed that variables typically employed in impact assessments, such as bottom water nutrient concentrations, explained less of the variance in community structure than alternative variables (e.g., porewater NH4+ inventories and sediment depth-integrated O2 consumption rates) selected due to their low collinearity (up to 40 vs. 58% of the variance explained, respectively). In monitoring surveys where analyses of both bacterial and eukaryotic communities may be impossible, either 16S or 18S rRNA gene metabarcoding can serve as reliable indicators of wider ecological impacts of eutrophication.
  • Schrandt, Meagan N.; Stone, Laura C.; Klimek, Brian; Makelin, Saara; Heck, Kenneth L.; Mattila, Johanna; Herlevi, Heidi (2016)
    In the Baltic Sea, species diversity is relatively low and the introduction of new predator species can have large direct and indirect impacts on native species - both prey and potential competitors. The alien round goby Neogobius melanostomus Pallas, 1811 was introduced to the Baltic Sea in the early 1990s and is now well-established. We examined the feeding habits of male round gobies from the Aland Islands, Finland, where round gobies were first recorded in 2011. Specifically, we tested whether small round gobies (
  • Engen, Sigrid; Hausner, Vera Helene; Gurney, Georgina G.; Broderstad, Else Grete; Keller, Rose; Lundberg, Aase Kristine; Murguzur, Francisco Javier Ancin; Salminen, Emma; Raymond, Christopher M.; Falk-Andersson, Jannike; Fauchald, Per (2021)
    Ocean-based economic development arising from an increasing interest in the 'blue economy' is placing ecosystems and small-scale fisheries under pressure. The dominant policy response for dealing with multiple uses is the allocation of coastal space through coastal zone planning (CZP). Recent studies have shown that the rush to develop the blue economy and regulate coastal activity can result in social injustices and the exclusion of less powerful and unrecognized groups (e.g., small-scale fishers, women, Indigenous peoples and youth). To achieve a primary goal of the 2030 sustainable development agenda to "leave no one behind", it is important to understand the implications of coastal planning and development for these groups. Here, we present a social survey protocol for examining perceptions of justice related to small-scale fisheries (SSF) in the context of the blue economy in coastal areas. Specifically, we designed the survey instrument and sampling protocol to assess whether decisions about the use of the coastal zone over the last five years have i) followed principles of good governance, ii) recognized fishers' knowledge, culture and rights and iii) been attentive to impacts of changed coastal zone use on fisheries. The survey will engage coastal planners (N = app. 120) and fishers (N = app. 4300) in all the coastal municipalities (N = 81) in Northern-Norway. The sampling protocol is designed to ensure representation of different sectors of society, including those defined by gender, age, ethnicity and occupation (e.g., small-scale fishers, large-scale fishers, coastal planners).
  • Antao, Laura; Weigel, Benjamin; Strona, Giovanni; Hällfors, Maria; Kaarlejärvi, Elina; Dallas, Tad; Opedal, Øystein; Heliölä, Janne; Henttonen, Heikki; Huitu, Otso; Korpimäki, Erkki; Kuussaari, Mikko; Lehikoinen, Aleksi; Leinonen, Reima; Lindén, Andreas; Merilä, Päivi; Pietiäinen, Hannu; Pöyry, Juha; Salemaa, Maija; Tonteri, Tiina; Vuorio, Kristiina; Ovaskainen, Otso; Saastamoinen, Marjo; Vanhatalo, Jarno; Roslin, Tomas; Laine, Anna-Liisa (2022)
    Climate change is a pervasive threat to biodiversity. While range shifts are a known consequence of climate warming contributing to regional community change, less is known about how species’ positions shift within their climatic niches. Furthermore, whether the relative importance of different climatic variables prompting such shifts varies with changing climate remains unclear. Here we analysed four decades of data for 1,478 species of birds, mammals, butterflies, moths, plants and phytoplankton along a 1,200 km high latitudinal gradient. The relative importance of climatic drivers varied non-uniformly with progressing climate change. While species turnover among decades was limited, the relative position of species within their climatic niche shifted substantially. A greater proportion of species responded to climatic change at higher latitudes, where changes were stronger. These diverging climate imprints restructure a full biome, making it difficult to generalize biodiversity responses and raising concerns about ecosystem integrity in the face of accelerating climate change.
  • Haraguchi, Lumi; Asmala, Eero; Jakobsen, Hans H.; Carstensen, Jacob (2019)
    Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important component of nutrient cycling, but the role of different organisms controlling the processing of autochthonous DOM remains poorly understood. Aiming to characterize phytoplankton-derived DOM and the effects of complex pelagic communities on its dynamics, we incubated natural plankton communities from a temperate mesohaline estuary under controlled conditions for 18 days. The incubations were carried out in contrasting seasons (spring and autumn) and changes in the planktonic community (phytoplankton, bacteria and microzooplankton), nutrients and DOM were assessed. Our results highlight the complexity of DOM production and fate in natural planktonic communities. Small changes in DOM composition were observed in the experiments relative to the orders-of-magnitude variations experienced in the phytoplankton assembly. We argue that the tight coupling between microbial processing and DOM production by phytoplankton and grazers stabilizes variations in quantity and characteristics of autochthonous DOM, resulting in apparently homogeneous semi-labile DOM pool throughout the experiments. However, seasonal differences in the production and processing of DOM were observed, reflecting differences in the nutrient regimes and initial DOM characteristics in each experiment, but also likely influenced by changes in the successional status of the pelagic community. Acknowledging that characteristics of the DOM derived from phytoplankton growth can vary broadly, heterotrophic processing and successional status of the community are synergistically important factors for shaping those characteristics, and thus affecting the seasonal signature of the semi-labile autochthonous DOM pool.
  • Elovaara, Samu; Eronen-Rasimus, Eeva; Asmala, Eero; Tamelander, Tobias; Kaartokallio, Hermanni (2021)
    Microbial consumption of phytoplankton-derived organic carbon in the pelagic food web is an important component of the global C cycle. We studied C cycling in two phytoplankton-bacteria systems (non-axenic cultures of a dinoflagellate Apocalathium malmogiense and a cryptophyte Rhodomonas marina) in two complementary experiments. In the first experiment we grew phytoplankton and bacteria in nutrient-replete conditions and followed C processing at early exponential growth phase and twice later when the community had grown denser. Cell-specific primary production and total community respiration were up to 4 and 7 times higher, respectively, in the A. malmogiense treatments. Based on the optical signals, accumulating dissolved organic C (DOC) was degraded more in the R. marina treatments, and the rate of bacterial production to primary production was higher. Thus, the flow of C from phytoplankton to bacteria was relatively higher in R. marina treatments than in A. malmogiense treatments, which was further supported by faster C-14 transfer from phytoplankton to bacterial biomass. In the second experiment we investigated consumption of the phytoplankton-derived DOC by bacteria. DOC consumption and transformation, bacterial production, and bacterial respiration were all higher in R. marina treatments. In both experiments A. malmogiense supported a bacterial community predominated by bacteria specialized in the utilization of less labile DOC (class Bacteroidia), whereas R. marina supported a community predominated by copiotrophic Alphaand Gammaproteobacteria. Our findings suggest that large dinoflagellates cycle relatively more C between phytoplankton biomass and the inorganic C pool, whereas small cryptophytes direct relatively more C to the microbial loop.
  • Momigliano, Paolo; Jokinen, Henri; Calboli, Federico; Aro, Eero; Merilä, Juha (2019)
    Unobserved diversity, such as undetected genetic structure or the presence of cryptic species, is of concern for the conservation and management of global biodiversity in the face of threatening anthropogenic processes. For instance, unobserved diversity can lead to overestimation of maximum sustainable yields and therefore to overharvesting of the more vulnerable stock components within unrecognized mixed-stock fisheries. We used DNA from archival (otolith) samples to reconstruct the temporal (1976-2011) genetic makeup of two mixed-stock flounder fisheries in the angstrom land Sea (AS) and the Gulf of Finland (GoF). Both fisheries have hitherto been managed as a single stock of European flounders (Platichthys flesus), but were recently revealed to target two closely related species: the pelagic-spawning P. flesus and the newly described, demersal-spawning P. solemdali. While the AS and GoF fisheries were assumed to consist exclusively of P. solemdali, P. flesus dominated the GoF flounder assemblage (87% of total) in 1983, had disappeared (0%) by 1993, and remained in low proportions (10%-11%) thereafter. In the AS, P. solemdali dominated throughout the sampling period (>70%), and P. flesus remained in very low proportions after 1983. The disappearance of P. flesus from the GoF coincides in time with a dramatic (similar to 60%) decline in commercial landings and worsening environmental conditions in P. flesus' northernmost spawning ground, the Eastern Gotland Basin, in the preceding 4-6 years. These results are compatible with the hypothesis that P. flesus in the GoF is a sink population relying on larval subsidies from southern spawning grounds and the cause of their disappearance is a cessation of larval supply. Our results highlight the importance of uncovering unobserved genetic diversity and studying spatiotemporal changes in the relative contribution of different stock components, as well as the underlying environmental causes, to manage marine resources in the age of rapid anthropogenic change.
  • Nygård, Henrik; van Beest, Floris M.; Bergqvist, Lisa; Carstensen, Jacob; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Hasler, Berit; Schumacher, Johanna; Schernewski, Gerald; Sokolov, Alexander; Zandersen, Marianne; Fleming, Vivi (2020)
    Decision-support tools (DSTs) synthesize complex information to assist environmental managers in the decision-making process. Here, we review DSTs applied in the Baltic Sea area, to investigate how well the ecosystem approach is reflected in them, how different environmental problems are covered, and how well the tools meet the needs of the end users. The DSTs were evaluated based on (i) a set of performance criteria, (ii) information on end user preferences, (iii) how end users had been involved in tool development, and (iv) what experiences developers/hosts had on the use of the tools. We found that DSTs frequently addressed management needs related to eutrophication, biodiversity loss, or contaminant pollution. The majority of the DSTs addressed human activities, their pressures, or environmental status changes, but they seldom provided solutions for a complete ecosystem approach. In general, the DSTs were scientifically documented and transparent, but confidence in the outputs was poorly communicated. End user preferences were, apart from the shortcomings in communicating uncertainty, well accounted for in the DSTs. Although end users were commonly consulted during the DST development phase, they were not usually part of the development team. Answers from developers/hosts indicate that DSTs are not applied to their full potential. Deeper involvement of end users in the development phase could potentially increase the value and impact of DSTs. As a way forward, we propose streamlining the outputs of specific DSTs, so that they can be combined to a holistic insight of the consequences of management actions and serve the ecosystem approach in a better manner.
  • Luoma, Emilia; Nevalainen, Lauri; Altarriba, Elias; Helle, Inari; Lehikoinen, Annukka (2021)
    Ship hulls create a vector for the transportation of harmful non-indigenous species (NIS) all over the world. To sustainably prevent NIS introductions, the joint consideration of environmental, economic and social aspects in the search of optimal biofouling management strategies is needed. This article presents a multi-perspective soft systems analysis of the biofouling management problem, based on an extensive literature review and expert knowledge collected in the Baltic Sea area during 2018-2020. The resulting conceptual influence diagram (CID) reveals the multidimensionality of the problem by visualizing the causal relations between the key elements and demonstrating the entanglement of social, ecological and technical aspects. Seen as a boundary object, we suggest the CID can support open dialogue and better risk communication among stakeholders by providing an illustrative and directly applicable starting point for the discussions. It also provides a basis for quantitative management optimization in the future.
  • Broman, Elias; Asmala, Eero; Carstensen, Jacob; Pinhassi, Jarone; Dopson, Mark (2019)
    Coastal zones are important transitional areas between the land and sea, where both terrestrial and phytoplankton supplied dissolved organic matter (DOM) are respired or transformed. As climate change is expected to increase river discharge and water temperatures, DOM from both allochthonous and autochthonous sources is projected to increase. As these transformations are largely regulated by bacteria, we analyzed microbial community structure data in relation to a 6-month long time-series dataset of DOM characteristics from Roskilde Fjord and adjacent streams, Denmark. The results showed that the microbial community composition in the outer estuary (closer to the sea) was largely associated with salinity and nutrients, while the inner estuary formed two clusters linked to either nutrients plus allochthonous DOM or autochthonous DOM characteristics. In contrast, the microbial community composition in the streams was found to be mainly associated with allochthonous DOM characteristics. A general pattern across the land-to-sea interface was that Betaproteobacteria were strongly associated with humic-like DOM [operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to family Comamonadaceae], while distinct populations were instead associated with nutrients or abiotic variables such as temperature (Cyanobacteria genus Synechococcus) and salinity (Actinobacteria family Microbacteriaceae). Furthermore, there was a stark shift in the relative abundance of OTUs between stream and marine stations. This indicates that as DOM travels through the land-to-sea interface, different bacterial guilds continuously degrade it.
  • Paczkowska, Joanna; Rowe, O.F.; Figueroa, Daniela; Andersson, Agneta (2019)
    The influence of nutrient availability and light conditions on phytoplankton size-structure, nutritional strategy and production were studied in a phosphorus-poor estuary in the northern Baltic Sea receiving humic-rich river water. The relative biomass of mixotrophic nanophytoplankton peaked in spring when heterotrophic bacterial production was high, while autotrophic microphytoplankton had their maximum in summer when primary production displayed highest values. Limiting substance only showed small changes over time, and the day light was at saturating levels all through the study period. We also investigated if the phytoplankton taxonomic richness influences the production. Structured equation modelling indicated that an increase of the taxonomic richness during the warm summer combined with slightly higher phosphorus concentration lead to increased resource use efficiency, which in turn caused higher phytoplankton biomass and primary production. Our results suggest that climate warming would lead to higher primary production in northerly shallow coastal areas, which are influenced by humic-rich river run-off from un-disturbed terrestrial systems.
  • Happel, Elisabeth M.; Trine, Markussen; Teikari, Jonna E.; Huchaiah, Vimala; Alneberg, Johannes; Andersson, Andres F.; Sivonen, Kaarina; Middelboe, Matthias; Kisand, Veljo; Riemann, Lasse (2019)
    Heterotrophic bacteria are important drivers of nitrogen (N) cycling and the processing of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Projected increases in precipitation will potentially cause increased loads of riverine DOM to the Baltic Sea and likely affect the composition and function of bacterioplankton communities. To investigate this, the effects of riverine DOM from two different catchment areas (agricultural and forest) on natural bacterioplankton assemblages from two contrasting sites in the Baltic Sea were examined. Two microcosm experiments were carried out, where the community composition (16S rRNA gene sequencing), the composition of a suite of N-cycling genes (metagenomics) and the abundance and transcription of ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) genes involved in nitrification (quantitative PCR) were investigated. The river water treatments evoked a significant response in bacterial growth, but the effects on overall community composition and the representation of N-cycling genes were limited. Instead, treatment effects were reflected in the prevalence of specific taxonomic families, specific N-related functions and in the transcription of amoA genes. The study suggests that bacterioplankton responses to changes in the DOM pool are constrained to part of the bacterial community, whereas most taxa remain relatively unaffected.
  • Boxhammer, Tim; Taucher, Jan; Bach, Lennart T.; Achterberg, Eric P.; Alguero-Muniz, Maria; Bellworthy, Jessica; Czerny, Jan; Esposito, Mario; Haunost, Mathias; Hellemann, Dana; Ludwig, Andrea; Yong, Jaw C.; Zark, Maren; Riebesell, Ulf; Anderson, Leif G. (2018)
    Ongoing acidification of the ocean through uptake of anthropogenic CO2 is known to affect marine biota and ecosystems with largely unknown consequences for marine food webs. Changes in food web structure have the potential to alter trophic transfer, partitioning, and biogeochemical cycling of elements in the ocean. Here we investigated the impact of realistic end-of-the-century CO2 concentrations on the development and partitioning of the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and silica pools in a coastal pelagic ecosystem (Gullmar Fjord, Sweden). We covered the entire winter-to-summer plankton succession (100 days) in two sets of five pelagic mesocosms, with one set being CO2 enriched (similar to 760 mu atm pCO(2)) and the other one left at ambient CO2 concentrations. Elemental mass balances were calculated and we highlight important challenges and uncertainties we have faced in the closed mesocosm system. Our key observations under high CO2 were: (1) A significantly amplified transfer of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus from primary producers to higher trophic levels, during times of regenerated primary production. (2) A prolonged retention of all three elements in the pelagic food web that significantly reduced nitrogen and phosphorus sedimentation by about 11 and 9%, respectively. (3) A positive trend in carbon fixation (relative to nitrogen) that appeared in the particulate matter pool as well as the downward particle flux. This excess carbon counteracted a potential reduction in carbon sedimentation that could have been expected from patterns of nitrogen and phosphorus fluxes. Our findings highlight the potential for ocean acidification to alter partitioning and cycling of carbon and nutrients in the surface ocean but also show that impacts are temporarily variable and likely depending upon the structure of the plankton food web.
  • Kozak, Natalia; Ahonen, Salla A.; Keva, Ossi; ostbye, Kjartan; Taipale, Sami J.; Hayden, Brian; Kahilainen, Kimmo K. (2021)
    Subarctic lakes are getting warmer and more productive due to the joint effects of climate change and intensive land-use practices (e.g. forest clear-cutting and peatland ditching), processes that potentially increase leaching of peat- and soil-stored mercury into lake ecosystems. We sampled biotic communities from primary producers (algae) to top consumers (piscivorous fish), in 19 subarctic lakes situated on a latitudinal (69.0-66.5 degrees N), climatic (+3.2 degrees C temperature and +30% precipitation from north to south) and catchment land-use (pristine to intensive forestry areas) gradient. We first tested how the joint effects of climate and productivity influence mercury biomagnification in food webs focusing on the trophic magnification slope (TMS) and mercury baseline (THg baseline) level, both derived from linear regression between total mercury (log10THg) and organism trophic level (TL). We examined a suite of environmental and biotic variables thought to explain THg baseline and TMS with stepwise generalized multiple regression models. Finally, we assessed how climate and lake productivity affect the THg content of top predators in subarctic lakes. We found biomagnification of mercury in all studied lakes, but with variable TMS and THg baseline values. In stepwise multiple regression models, TMS was best explained by negative relationships with food chain length, climate-productivity gradient, catchment properties, and elemental C:N ratio of the top predator (full model R2 = 0.90, p < 0.001). The model examining variation in THg baseline values included the same variables with positive relationships (R2 = 0.69, p = 0.014). Mass standardized THg content of a common top predator (1 kg northern pike, Esox lucius) increased towards warmer and more productive lakes. Results indicate that increasing eutrophication via forestry-related land-use activities increase the THg levels at the base of the food web and in top predators, suggesting that the sources of nutrients and mercury should be considered in future bioaccumulation and biomagnification studies. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
  • Jarić, Ivan; Roll, Uri; Arlinghaus, Robert; Belmaker, Jonathan; Chen, Yan; China, Victor; Douda, Karel; Essl, Franz; Jähnig, Sonja C.; Jeschke, Jonathan M.; Kalinkat, Gregor; Kalous, Lukáš; Ladle, Richard; Lennox, Robert J.; Rosa, Rui; Sbragaglia, Valerio; Sherren, Kate; Šmejkal, Marek; Soriano-Redondo, Andrea; Souza, Allan T.; Wolter, Christian; Correia, Ricardo A. (2020)
    The ongoing digital revolution in the age of big data is opening new research opportunities. Culturomics and iEcology, two emerging research areas based on the analysis of online data resources, can provide novel scientific insights and inform conservation and management efforts. To date, culturomics and iEcology have been applied primarily in the terrestrial realm. Here, we advocate for expanding such applications to the aquatic realm by providing a brief overview of these new approaches and outlining key areas in which culturomics and iEcology are likely to have the highest impact, including the management of protected areas; fisheries; flagship species identification; detection and distribution of threatened, rare, and alien species; assessment of ecosystem status and anthropogenic impacts; and social impact assessment. When deployed in the right context with awareness of potential biases, culturomics and iEcology are ripe for rapid development as low-cost research approaches based on data available from digital sources, with increasingly diverse applications for aquatic ecosystems.
  • Westerbom, Mats; Kraufvelin, Patrik; Mustonen, Olli; Diaz, Eliecer (2021)
    Advancing our understanding of how environmental variability affects the distribution of organisms is crucial for ecology and conservation. The exploration of changes in demographic patterns close to species distribution margins is important as populations here may provide a window into future population changes also elsewhere. However, the knowledge of factors causing recruitment variation is still inadequate in many systems and this deficiency is particularly evident close to species' distribution borders. We studied the spatiotemporal variability in recruit-adult dynamics in a blue mussel, Mytilus trossulus, population to get insights into how environmental variables drive variation in recruitment and how this variability affects adult population growth. Thirty sites along a wave exposure gradient were monitored during four consecutive years. From each site, mussels were collected both from artificial recruitment units and from natural mussel beds. Our results showed high year-to-year variation in recruitment strength with high spatial variation. Mussel recruitment to artificial units and later recruitment to the benthos correlated highly. Juvenile abundances 1 year later paralleled prior recruitment strengths and caused synchronous but time-lagged changes in adult cohorts. Seawater salinity was the strongest predictor for recruitment variation, whereas sea temperature and wave exposure had low predictive power for this early life stage. For juveniles and for adults in the benthos, wave exposure explained the variation best, whereas temperature and especially salinity explained less. The results indicate that (a) the studied blue mussel population is strongly driven by variation in recruitment strength that (b) drives the size of the later cohorts, and the population is possibly even (c) recruitment limited in some years. Our study predicts a challenging future for this range population, resulting from a higher frequency of recruitment failure caused by a deteriorating sea climate. Knowledge about factors underlying variation in recruitment is thus essential for forecasting the future of this range population and for conserving its future state.
  • Heikkinen, Risto; Leikola, Niko; Aalto, Juha; Aapala, Kaisu; Luoto, Miska; Kuusela, Saija; Virkkala, Raimo (2020)
    Climate change velocity is an increasingly used metric to assess the broad-scale climatic exposure and climate change induced risks to terrestrial and marine ecosystems. However, the utility of this metric in conservation planning can be enhanced by determining the velocities of multiple climatic drivers in real protected area (PA) networks on ecologically relevant scales. Here we investigate the velocities of three key bioclimatic variables across a nation-wide reserve network, and the consequences of including fine-grained topoclimatic data in velocity assessments. Using 50-m resolution data describing present-day and future topoclimates, we assessed the velocities of growing degree days, the mean January temperature and climatic water balance in the Natura 2000 PA network in Finland. The high-velocity areas for the three climate variables differed drastically, indicating contrasting exposure risks in different PAs. The 50-m resolution climate data revealed more realistic estimates of climate velocities and more overlap between the present-day and future climate spaces in the PAs than the 1-km resolution data. Even so, the current temperature conditions were projected to disappear from almost all the studied PAs by the end of this century. Thus, in PA networks with only moderate topographic variation, far-reaching climate change induced ecological changes may be inevitable.
  • Frelat, Romain; Kortsch, Susanne; Kroencke, Ingrid; Neumann, Hermann; Nordstroem, Marie C.; Olivier, Pierre E. N.; Sell, Anne F. (2022)
    Ecological communities are constantly changing as a response to environmental and anthropogenic pressures. Yet, how changes in community composition influence the structure of food webs over time and space remains elusive. Using ecological network analysis, we assessed how food web structure changed across six distinct areas of the North Sea over a sixteen-year time-period. We used multivariate analyses to disentangle and compare spatio-temporal dynamics in community composition (i.e. changes in species abundances) and food web structure (i.e. changes in network properties). Specifically, we assessed how changes in community composition were reflected in food web structure. Our results revealed a strong spatial coupling between community composition and food web structure along a south-north gradient. However, the temporal covariation between community composition and food web structure depended on the spatial scale. We observed a temporal mismatch at regional scale, but a strong coupling at local scale. In particular, we found that community composition can be influenced by hydro-climatic events over large areas, with diverse effects manifesting in local food web structure. Our proposed methodological framework quantified and compared spatio-temporal changes in community composition and food web structure, providing key information to support effective management strategies aimed at conserving the structure and functioning of ecological communities in times of environmental change.
  • Galindo, Juan; Carvalho, Joao; Sotelo, Graciela; Duvetorp, Marten; Costa, Diana; Kemppainen, Petri; Panova, Marina; Kaliontzopoulou, Antigoni; Johannesson, Kerstin; Faria, Rui (2021)
    Low dispersal marine intertidal species facing strong divergent selective pressures associated with steep environmental gradients have a great potential to inform us about local adaptation and reproductive isolation. Among these, gastropods of the genus Littorina offer a unique system to study parallel phenotypic divergence resulting from adaptation to different habitats related with wave exposure. In this study, we focused on two Littorina fabalis ecotypes from Northern European shores and compared patterns of habitat-related phenotypic and genetic divergence across three different geographic levels (local, regional and global). Geometric morphometric analyses revealed that individuals from habitats moderately exposed to waves usually present a larger shell size with a wider aperture than those from sheltered habitats. The phenotypic clustering of L. fabalis by habitat across most locations (mainly in terms of shell size) support an important role of ecology in morphological divergence. A genome scan based on amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) revealed a heterogeneous pattern of differentiation across the genome between populations from the two different habitats, suggesting ecotype divergence in the presence of gene flow. The contrasting patterns of genetic structure between nonoutlier and outlier loci, and the decreased sharing of outlier loci with geographic distance among locations are compatible with parallel evolution of phenotypic divergence, with an important contribution of gene flow and/or ancestral variation. In the future, model-based inference studies based on sequence data across the entire genome will help unravelling these evolutionary hypotheses, improving our knowledge about adaptation and its influence on diversification within the marine realm.
  • Roth, Florian; Karcher, Denis B.; Radecker, Nils; Hohn, Sonke; Carvalho, Susana; Thomson, Timothy; Saalmann, Franziska; Voolstra, Christian R.; Kurten, Benjamin; Struck, Ulrich; Jones, Burton H.; Wild, Christian (2020)
    Following coral mortality in tropical reefs, pioneer communities dominated by filamentous and crustose algae efficiently colonize substrates previously occupied by coral tissue. This phenomenon is particularly common after mass coral mortality following prolonged bleaching events associated with marine heatwaves. Pioneer communities play an important role for the biological succession and reorganization of reefs after disturbance. However, their significance for critical ecosystem functions previously mediated by corals, such as the efficient cycling of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) within the reef, remains uncertain. We used 96 carbonate tiles to simulate the occurrence of bare substrates after disturbance in a coral reef of the central Red Sea. We measured rates of C and dinitrogen (N-2) fixation of pioneer communities on these tiles monthly over an entire year. Coupled with elemental and stable isotope analyses, these measurements provide insights into macronutrient acquisition, export and the influence of seasonality. Pioneer communities exhibited high rates of C and N(2)fixation within 4-8 weeks after the introduction of experimental bare substrates. Ranging from 13 to 25 mu mol C cm(-2) day(-1)and 8 to 54 nmol N cm(-2) day(-1), respectively, C and N(2)fixation rates were comparable to reported values for established Red Sea coral reefs. This similarity indicates that pioneer communities may quickly compensate for the loss of benthic productivity by corals. Notably, between 40% and 85% of fixed organic C was exported into the environment, constituting a vital source of energy for the coral reef food web. Our findings suggest that benthic pioneer communities may play a crucial, yet overlooked role in the C and N dynamics of oligotrophic coral reefs by contributing to the input of new C and N after coral mortality. While not substituting other critical ecosystem functions provided by corals (e.g. structural habitat complexity and coastal protection), pioneer communities likely contribute to maintaining coral reef nutrient cycling through the accumulation of biomass and import of macronutrients following coral loss. A freePlain Language Summarycan be found within the Supporting Information of this article.