Project description:Golden and Blueline Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps and Caulolatilus microps) are keystone taxa in northwest (NW) Atlantic continental shelf-edge environments due to their biotic (trophic-mediated) and abiotic (ecosystem engineering) functional roles combined with high-value fisheries. Despite this importance, the ecological niche dynamics (i.e., those relating to trophic behavior and food-web interactions) of these sympatric species are poorly understood, knowledge of which may be consequential for maintaining both ecosystem function and fishery sustainability. We used stable isotope ratios of carbon (?13C) and nitrogen (?15N) to build realized ecological niche hypervolumes to serve as proxies for diet and production use patterns of L. chamaeleonticeps and C. microps. We hypothesized that: (a) species exhibit ontogenetic shifts in diet and use of production sources; (b) species acquire energy from spatially distinct resource pools that reflect a sedentary life-history and differential use of the continental shelf-edge; and (c) species exhibit differentiation in one or more measured niche axes. We found evidence for ontogenetic shifts in diet (?15N) but not production source (?13C) in both species, suggesting a subtle expansion of measured ecological niche axes. Spatial interpolation of stable isotope ratios showed distinct latitudinal gradients; for example, individuals were 13C enriched in northern and 15N enriched in southern regions, supporting the assertion that tilefish species acquire energy from regional resource pools. High isotopic overlap was observed among species (?82%); however, when hypervolumes included depth and region of capture, overlap among species substantially decreased to overlap estimates of 15%-77%. This suggests that spatial segregation could alleviate potential competition for resources among tilefish species inhabiting continental shelf-edge environments. Importantly, our results question the consensus interpretation of isotopic overlap estimates as representative of direct competition among species for shared resources or habitats, instead identifying habitat segregation as a possible mechanism for coexistence of tilefish species in the NW Atlantic.
Project description:Marine ecosystems in urban coastal areas are exposed to many risks due to human activity. Thus, long-term and continuous monitoring of zooplankton diversity is necessary. High-throughput DNA metabarcoding has gained recognition as an efficient and highly sensitive approach to accurately describing the species diversity of marine zooplankton assemblages. In this study, we collected 30 zooplankton samples at about 2-week intervals for 1 year. Zooplankton diversity showing a typical four season pattern. Of the "total" and "common" zooplankton, we assigned 267 and 64 taxa. The cluster structure and seasonal diversity pattern were rough when only the "common" zooplankton was used. Our study examined how to maximize the benefits of metabarcoding for monitoring zooplankton diversity in urban coastal areas. The results suggest that to take full advantage of metabarcoding when monitoring a zooplankton community, it is necessary to carefully investigate potential ecosystem threats (non-indigenous species) through sufficient curation rather than disregarding low-abundance operational taxonomic units.
Project description:Zooplankton plays a pivotal role in marine ecosystems and the characterisation of its biodiversity still represents a challenge for marine ecologists. In this study, mesozooplankton composition from 46 samples collected in summer along the western Adriatic Sea, was retrieved by DNA metabarcoding analysis. For the first time, the highly variable fragments of the mtDNA COI and the V9 region of 18S rRNA genes were used in a combined matrix to compile an inventory of mesozooplankton at basin scale. The number of sequences retrieved after quality filtering were 824,148 and 223,273 for COI and 18S (V9), respectively. The taxonomical assignment against reference sequences, using 95% (for COI) and 97% (for 18S) similarity thresholds, recovered 234 taxa. NMDS plots and cluster analysis divided coastal from offshore samples and the most representative species of these clusters were distributed according to the dominant surface current pattern of the Adriatic for the summer period. For selected sampling sites, mesozooplankton species were also identified under a stereo microscope providing insights on the strength and weakness of the two approaches. In addition, DNA metabarcoding was shown to be helpful for the monitoring of non-indigenous marine metazoans and spawning areas of commercial fish species. We defined pros and cons of applying this approach at basin scale and the benefits of combining the datasets from two genetic markers.
Project description:Continental margins play an important role in global carbon cycle, accounting for 15-21% of the global marine primary production. Since carbon fluxes across continental margins from land to the open ocean are not well constrained, we undertook a study to develop satellite algorithms to retrieve dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and combined these satellite data with physical circulation model products to quantify the shelf boundary fluxes of DOC for the U.S. Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB). Satellite DOC was computed through seasonal relationships of DOC with colored dissolved organic matter absorption coefficients, which were derived from an extensive set of in situ measurements. The multiyear time series of satellite-derived DOC stocks (4.9 Teragrams C; Tg) shows that freshwater discharge influences the magnitude and seasonal variability of DOC on the continental shelf. For the 2010-2012 period studied, the average total estuarine export of DOC into the MAB shelf is 0.77 Tg C yr-1 (year). The integrated DOC tracer fluxes across the shelf boundaries are 12.1 Tg C yr-1 entering the MAB from the southwest alongshore boundary, 18.5 Tg C yr-1 entering the MAB from the northeast alongshore boundary, and 29.0 Tg C yr-1 flowing out of the MAB across the entire length of the 100 m isobath. The magnitude of the cross-shelf DOC flux is quite variable in time (monthly) and space (north to south). The highly dynamic exchange of water along the shelf boundaries regulates the DOC budget of the MAB at subseasonal time scales.
Project description:Communities of zooplankton, a critical portion of aquatic ecosystems, can be adversely affected by contamination resulting from human activities. Understanding the influence of environmental change on zooplankton communities under field-conditions is hindered by traditional labor-intensive approaches that are prone to taxonomic and enumeration mistakes. Here, metabarcoding of cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) region of mitochondrial DNA was used to characterize the genetic diversity of zooplankton. The species composition of zooplankton communities determined by metabarcoding was consistent with the results based on the traditional morphological approach. The spatial distribution of common species (frequency of occurrence >10 samples) by metabarcoding exhibited good agreement with morphological data. Furthermore, metabarcoding can clearly distinguish the composition of the zooplankton community between lake and river ecosystems. In general, rotifers were more abundant in riverine environments than lakes and reservoirs. Finally, the sequence read number of different taxonomic groups using metabarcoding was positively correlated with the zooplankton biomass inferred by density and body length of zooplankton. Overall, the utility of metabarcoding for taxonomic profiling of zooplankton communities was validated by the morphology-based method on a large ecological scale. Metabarcoding of COI could be a powerful and efficient biomonitoring tool to protect local aquatic ecosystems.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Zooplankton is an important component of aquatic organisms and has important biological and economical significance in freshwater ecosystems. However, traditional methods that rely on morphology to classify zooplankton require expert taxonomic skills. Moreover, traditional classification methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive, which is not practical for the design of conservation measures and ecological management tools based on zooplankton diversity assessment.<h4>Methods</h4>We used DNA metabarcoding technology with two different markers: the nuclear small subunit ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA) and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase (COI), to analyze 72 zooplankton samples collected in 4 seasons and 9 locations from the Sanmenxia Reservoir. We investigated seasonal changes in the zooplankton community and their relationship with water environmental factors.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 190 species of zooplankton were found, belonging to 12 phyla, 24 classes, 61 orders, 111 families, and 174 genera. Protozoa, especially ciliates, were the most diverse taxa. Richness and relative abundance of zooplankton showed significant seasonal changes. Both alpha and beta diversity showed seasonal trends: the diversity in summer and autumn was higher than that in winter and spring. The zooplankton diversity was most similar in winter and spring. By correlating metabarcoding data and water environmental factors, we proved that water temperature, chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen and ammoniacal nitrogen were the main environmental factors driving the seasonal changes in zooplankton in the Sanmenxia Reservoir. Water temperature, followed by total nitrogen, were the most influential factors. This study highlights the advantages and some limitations of zooplankton molecular biodiversity assessment using two molecular markers.
Project description:The forest refuge hypothesis (FRH) has long been a paradigm for explaining the extreme biological diversity of tropical forests. According to this hypothesis, forest retraction and fragmentation during glacial periods would have promoted reproductive isolation and consequently speciation in forest patches (ecological refuges) surrounded by open habitats. The recent use of paleoclimatic models of species and habitat distributions revitalized the FRH, not by considering refuges as the main drivers of allopatric speciation, but instead by suggesting that high contemporary diversity is associated with historically stable forest areas. However, the role of the emerged continental shelf on the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot of eastern South America during glacial periods has been ignored in the literature. Here, we combined results of species distribution models with coalescent simulations based on DNA sequences to explore the congruence between scenarios of forest dynamics through time and the genetic structure of mammal species cooccurring in the central region of the Atlantic Forest. Contrary to the FRH predictions, we found more fragmentation of suitable habitats during the last interglacial (LIG) and the present than in the last glacial maximum (LGM), probably due to topography. We also detected expansion of suitable climatic conditions onto the emerged continental shelf during the LGM, which would have allowed forests and forest-adapted species to expand. The interplay of sea level and land distribution must have been crucial in the biogeographic history of the Atlantic Forest, and forest refuges played only a minor role, if any, in this biodiversity hotspot during glacial periods.
Project description:The high-time resolution (?70 years in average) multi-proxy analysis conducted on the mid-shelf core CBT-CS11 (47°46.429'N; 4°25.308'W; 73 m depth; 3.96 m long; NW France, S Brittany) revealed the complexity of the palaeohydrological and palaeoclimatic signals recorded over the last 7 kyrs in the recently published paper: "Oceanic versus continental influences over the last 7 kyrs from a midshelf record in the northern Bay of Biscay (NE Atlantic)" . This study presents the whole CBT-CS11 dataset discussed in  including sedimentological (XRF and grain-size (total from  and CaCO3-free from ) analyses), geochemical (oxygen and carbon stable isotopes on two different benthic foraminiferal species: Ammonia falsobeccarii from  and Cibicides refulgens from ) analyses) as well as palynological (dinoflagellate cyst and pollen assemblages from ) data. The present study also describes the different statistical tests from which ecological groups have been established from palynological indicators in .
Project description:Metabarcoding is a powerful tool for exploring microbial diversity in the environment, but its accurate interpretation is impeded by diverse technical (e.g. PCR and sequencing errors) and biological biases (e.g. intra-individual polymorphism) that remain poorly understood. To help interpret environmental metabarcoding datasets, we investigated the intracellular diversity of the V4 and V9 regions of the 18S rRNA gene from Acantharia and Nassellaria (radiolarians) using 454 pyrosequencing. Individual cells of radiolarians were isolated, and PCRs were performed with generalist primers to amplify the V4 and V9 regions. Different denoising procedures were employed to filter the pyrosequenced raw amplicons (Acacia, AmpliconNoise, Linkage method). For each of the six isolated cells, an average of 541 V4 and 562 V9 amplicons assigned to radiolarians were obtained, from which one numerically dominant sequence and several minor variants were found. At the 97% identity, a diversity metrics commonly used in environmental surveys, up to 5 distinct OTUs were detected in a single cell. However, most amplicons grouped within a single OTU whereas other OTUs contained very few amplicons. Different analytical methods provided evidence that most minor variants forming different OTUs correspond to PCR and sequencing artifacts. Duplicate PCR and sequencing from the same DNA extract of a single cell had only 9 to 16% of unique amplicons in common, and alignment visualization of V4 and V9 amplicons showed that most minor variants contained substitutions in highly-conserved regions. We conclude that intracellular variability of the 18S rRNA in radiolarians is very limited despite its multi-copy nature and the existence of multiple nuclei in these protists. Our study recommends some technical guidelines to conservatively discard artificial amplicons from metabarcoding datasets, and thus properly assess the diversity and richness of protists in the environment.
Project description:This paper forms part of a broader overview of biodiversity of marine life in the Gulf of Maine area (GoMA), facilitated by the GoMA Census of Marine Life program. It synthesizes current data on species diversity of zooplankton and pelagic nekton, including compilation of observed species and descriptions of seasonal, regional and cross-shelf diversity patterns. Zooplankton diversity in the GoMA is characterized by spatial differences in community composition among the neritic environment, the coastal shelf, and deep offshore waters. Copepod diversity increased with depth on the Scotian Shelf. On the coastal shelf of the western Gulf of Maine, the number of higher-level taxonomic groups declined with distance from shore, reflecting more nearshore meroplankton. Copepod diversity increased in late summer, and interdecadal diversity shifts were observed, including a period of higher diversity in the 1990s. Changes in species diversity were greatest on interannual scales, intermediate on seasonal scales, and smallest across regions, in contrast to abundance patterns, suggesting that zooplankton diversity may be a more sensitive indicator of ecosystem response to inter annual climate variation than zoo plankton abundance. Local factors such as bathymetry, proximity of the coast, and advection probably drive zooplankton and pelagic nekton diversity patterns in the GoMA, while ocean-basin scale diversity patterns probably contribute to the increase in diversity at the Scotian Shelf break, a zone of mixing between the cold-temperate community of the shelf and the warm-water community offshore. Pressing research needs include establishment of a comprehensive system for observing change in zooplankton and pelagic nekton diversity, enhanced observations of "underknown" but important functional components of the ecosystem, population and metapopulation studies, and development of analytical modeling tools to enhance understanding of diversity patterns and drivers. Ultimately, sustained observations and modeling analysis of biodiversity must be effectively communicated to managers and incorporated into ecosystem approaches for management of GoMA living marine resources.