The ocean and the marine parts of the cryosphere interact directly with, and are affected by, the seafloor and its primary properties of depth (bathymetry) and shape (morphology) in many ways. Bottom currents are largely constrained by undersea terrain with consequences for both regional and global heat transport. Deep ocean mixing is controlled by seafloor roughness, and the bathymetry directly influences where marine outlet glaciers are susceptible to the inflow relatively warm subsurface waters - an issue of great importance for ice-sheet discharge, i.e., the loss of mass from calving and undersea melting. Mass loss from glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, is among the primary drivers of global sea-level rise, together now contributing more to sea-level rise than the thermal expansion of the ocean. Recent research suggests that the upper bounds of predicted sea-level rise by the year 2100 under the scenarios presented in IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCCC) likely are conservative because of the many unknowns regarding ice dynamics. In this paper we highlight the poorly mapped seafloor in the Polar regions as a critical knowledge gap that needs to be filled to move marine cryosphere science forward and produce improved understanding of the factors impacting ice-discharge and, with that, improved predictions of, among other things, global sea-level. We analyze the bathymetric data coverage in the Arctic Ocean specifically and use the results to discuss challenges that must be overcome to map the most remotely located areas in the Polar regions in general.
Recreational fishing is a popular pastime and multibillion dollar industry in Australia, playing a key economic role, especially in regional areas. In the State of Victoria, Port Phillip Bay (PPB), bordered by Melbourne and its suburbs, is the largest of the State’s marine recreational fisheries. At present, little is known about the spatial and temporal dimensions of angler travel from origins to destinations, and the applicability of such spatial knowledge in fisheries management. To address this lack of information we assessed spatiotemporal dynamics and patterns in fishing trips, based upon travel distances on land and water, to acquire insight into the spatial ranges over which anglers residing in various locations travel to fishing destinations in the environs of PPB. Data for each angler per fishing trip, from 6,035 boat-based creel surveys, collected at 20 boat ramps in PPB during a 10-year period from 2010 to 2019, were analyzed by applying geospatial modeling. Differences were observed in both land and water travel distance by region and popular target species, with anglers who launched from Bellarine region traveling further on land, and those who targeted snapper traveling further on water. It was also evident that most anglers resided within close proximity of PPB, often less than 50 km, although some anglers traveled long distances across the State to access fishing locations, particularly when targeting snapper. This work further highlights the importance of spatially explicit approaches to inform fisheries management by identifying users across different landscape and seascape scales, and out-of-region or State fishing trips, which may especially impact coastal communities and benefit local businesses.
The estimation of larval dispersal on an ecological timescale is significant for conservation of marine species. In 2018, a semi-population outbreak of crown-of-thorns sea star, Acanthaster cf. solaris, was observed on a relatively isolated oceanic island, Ogasawara. The aim of this study was to assess whether this population outbreak was caused by large-scale larval recruitment (termed secondary outbreak) from the Kuroshio region. We estimated larval dispersal of the coral predator A. cf. solaris between the Kuroshio and Ogasawara regions using both population genomic analysis and simulation of oceanographic dispersal. Population genomic analysis revealed overall genetically homogenized patterns among Ogasawara and other Japanese populations, suggesting that the origin of the populations in the two regions is the same. In contrast, a simulation of 26-year oceanographic dispersal indicated that larvae are mostly self-seeded in Ogasawara populations and have difficulty reaching Ogasawara from the Kuroshio region within one generation. However, a connectivity matrix produced by the larval dispersal simulation assuming a Markov chain indicated gradual larval dispersal migration from the Kuroshio region to Ogasawara in a stepping-stone manner over multiple years. These results suggest that the 2018 outbreak was likely the result of self-seeding, including possible inbreeding (as evidenced by clonemate analysis), as large-scale larval dispersal from the Kurishio population to the Ogasawara population within one generation is unlikely. Instead, the population in Ogasawara is basically sustained by self-seedings, and the outbreak in 2018 was also most likely caused by successful self-seedings including possible inbreeding, as evidenced by clonemate analysis. This study also highlighted the importance of using both genomic and oceanographic methods to estimate larval dispersal, which provides significant insight into larval dispersal that occurs on ecological and evolutionary timescales.
To support ongoing marine spatial planning in New Zealand, a numerical environmental classification using Gradient Forest models was developed using a broad suite of biotic and high-resolution environmental predictor variables. Gradient Forest modeling uses species distribution data to control the selection, weighting and transformation of environmental predictors to maximise their correlation with species compositional turnover. A total of 630,997 records (39,766 unique locations) of 1,716 taxa living on or near the seafloor were used to inform the transformation of 20 gridded environmental variables to represent spatial patterns of compositional turnover in four biotic groups and the overall seafloor community. Compositional turnover of the overall community was classified using a hierarchical procedure to define groups at different levels of classification detail. The 75-group level classification was assessed as representing the highest number of groups that captured the majority of the variation across the New Zealand marine environment. We refer to this classification as the New Zealand “Seafloor Community Classification” (SCC). Associated uncertainty estimates of compositional turnover for each of the biotic groups and overall community were also produced, and an added measure of uncertainty – coverage of the environmental space – was developed to further highlight geographic areas where predictions may be less certain owing to low sampling effort. Environmental differences among the deep-water New Zealand SCC groups were relatively muted, but greater environmental differences were evident among groups at intermediate depths in line with well-defined oceanographic patterns observed in New Zealand’s oceans. Environmental differences became even more pronounced at shallow depths, where variation in more localised environmental conditions such as productivity, seafloor topography, seabed disturbance and tidal currents were important differentiating factors. Environmental similarities in New Zealand SCC groups were mirrored by their biological compositions. The New Zealand SCC is a significant advance on previous numerical classifications and includes a substantially wider range of biological and environmental data than has been attempted previously. The classification is critically appraised and considerations for use in spatial management are discussed.
Identifying the spatio-temporal distribution hotspots of fishes and allocating priority conservation areas could facilitate the spatial planning and efficient management. As a flagship commercial fishery species, Largehead hairtail (Trichiurus japonicus) has been over-exploited since the early 2000s. Therefore, the spatio-temporal management of largehead hairtail nursery grounds could effective help its recovery. This study aims to predict juvenile largehead hairtail distribution patterns and identify priority conservation areas for nursery grounds. A two-stage hierarchical Bayesian spatio-temporal model was applied on independent scientific survey data (Catch per unit effort, CPUE) and geographic/physical variables (Depth, Distance to the coast, Sea bottom temperature, Dissolved oxygen concentration and Net primary production) to analyze the probability of occurrence and abundance distribution of juvenile largehead hairtail. We assessed the importance of each variable for explaining the occurrence and abundance. Using persistence index, we measured the robustness of hotspots and identified persistent hotspots for priority conservation areas. Selected models showed good predictive capacity on occurrence probability (AUC = 0.81) and abundance distribution (r = 0.89) of juvenile largehead hairtail. Dissolved oxygen, net primary production, and sea bottom temperature significantly affected the probability of occurrence, while distance to the coast also affected the abundance distribution. Three stable nursery grounds were identified in Zhejiang inshore waters, the largest one was located on the east margin of the East China Sea hairtail national aquatic germplasm resources conservation zones (TCZ), suggesting that the core area of nursery grounds occurs outside the protected areas. Therefore, recognition of these sites and their associated geographic/oceanic attributes provides clear targets for optimizing largehead hairtail conservation efforts in the East China Sea. We suggested that the eastern and southern areas of TCZ should be included in conservation planning for an effective management within a network of marine protected areas.
COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in 2020 with countries putting up several measures to mitigate and flatten the curve of hospitalizations and death from travel bans to home confinements and local lockdowns. This pandemic created health and economic crises, leading to increased incidence of poverty and food crisis especially on both agriculture and the fisheries in many developing nations including the Philippines. The specific objectives of this study were to assess the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the catch per unit effort (CPUE) of small-scale fishers and to determine what factors could influence the volume of their catch during this time of pandemic. Moreover, this also investigated the impact of COVID-19 restrictions to fishers and their families. To do that we surveyed N = 200 small-scale fishers around the Davao gulf using semi-structured questionnaire and inquired on the impact of the COVID-19 to their fishing operation, catch, fishing costs, and their families. The collected socioeconomic variables, including emotional responses to the pandemic were then related to the CPUE and the volume of catch. The results show that fishers were highly affected by the pandemic due to the lockdown policy imposed in the fishing villages during the earlier phases of restrictions by the government. Fishers were affected in terms of the volume of their catch, also fishing costs, and emotionally as they were also frustrated due to the impacts of the hard lockdown. The restricted fishing access was found to have important and major set-back on the fishing operations of fishers and the same was experienced also by the middlemen given the low fish price and reduced mobility of the fish traders. COVID-19 also impacted the fishers, and their families through lack of mobility, food inadequacy, travel restrictions and their children’s education.
Microalgae are considered promising resources for producing a variety of high-value-added products, especially for lipids and pigments. Alkalophilic microalgae have more advantages than other microalgae when cultured outdoors on a large scale. The present study investigated the comprehensive effects of different nitrogen concentrations on fucoxanthin (Fx), lipids accumulation and the fatty acid profile of the alkaliphilic microalgae Nitzschia sp. NW129 to evaluate the potential for simultaneous production of Fx and biofuels. Fx and Lipids amassed in a coordinated growth-dependent manner in response to various concentrations, reaching 18.18 mg g–1 and 40.67% dry weight (DW), respectively. The biomass of Nitzschia sp. NW129 was 0.58 ± 0.02 g L–1 in the medium at the concentration of 117.65 mM. The highest productivities of Fx (1.44 mg L–1 d–1) and lipid (19.95 ± 1.29 mg L–1 d–1) were obtained concurrently at this concentration. Furthermore, the fatty acid methyl esters revealed excellent biofuel properties with an appropriate value of the degree unsaturation (49.97), cetane number (62.72), and cold filter plugging point (2.37), which met the European standards for biofuel production (EN14214). These results provided a reliable strategy for further industrialization and comprehensive production of biofuel and Fx by using the alkaliphilic microalgal Nitzschia sp. NW129.
Marine phytoplankton form the base of marine food webs and are the driving force of the marine carbon cycle, so understanding the dynamics of their blooms is critical. While near-surface marine productivity (<10 m water depths) is extensively documented, that of the subsurface is less well characterised. Increasing evidence of the importance of subsurface chlorophyll maxima (SCM) and climatically driven increases in stratification of surface waters that promote SCM development call for improved sampling of the subsurface. To address this, we targeted the summer stratified waters of the Western English Channel, part of the NW European shelf seas, where SCM are commonly developed. In situ holography was applied to undertake the highest ever resolution, total water column, quantitative analysis of microplankton distribution, and demonstrated the importance of a SCM, co-located with the thermocline, dominated by a single species, the dinoflagellate Ceratium fusus. This species was dominant in the SCM over a wide area of the NW European shelf in the June/July 2015 study period and comprised up to 85% of the SCM biomass. Analysis of similarity and multivariate non-metric multidimensional scaling showed the phytoplankton community of the SCM to be statistically distinct from those of the surface and deep waters. Holography also revealed a fine scale layering of taxa at different levels within the SCM, likely reflecting ecological differences. Some taxa followed the peak abundance of C. fusus, while others reached maximum abundances immediately below or above the C. fusus maximum, suggesting the possible operation of exclusion mechanisms. Additionally, the detection of abundant aggregates located only within and beneath the SCM demonstrates the potential importance of this deep production for the export of carbon to the sea floor. Some predictions of phytoplankton productivity propose a shift to smaller cells in the more stratified oceans of the future resulting in declining production and export. Results presented here, however, contribute to a growing body of evidence that suggests, on the contrary, that key species among the larger celled/colonial, SCM-adapted diatoms and dinoflagellates may instead be selected in stratified conditions, driving increased production and export.
Plastics of various chemistries pollute global water bodies. Toxic chemicals leach with detrimental and often unpredictable impacts on the surrounding ecosystems. We found that seawater leachates of plastic pre-production pellets from 7 recycle categories are acutely toxic to stage II barnacle nauplii; lethal concentration 50 (LC50s) were observed in 24-h leachates from dilutions ranging from 0.007 to 2.1 mg/mL of seawater. Based on previous observations that macro-organismal settlement on fouling management coatings of various toxicities can be used to predict the toxicity of the coating, we hypothesized that interaction of plastic pre-production pellets with emerging microbiomes would exhibit patterns indicative of the chemistry at the pellet surface. We used amplicon sequencing of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA genes to characterize the microbiomes that developed from 8 through 70 days on pellets exposed to the same flowing ambient seawater. Diversity and composition of the microbiomes colonizing plastic pellets changed over time and varied with plastic type. Microbial taxa belong to taxonomic groups known to consume hydrocarbons, to be prevalent following marine oil spills, or to live on fouling management surfaces. Microbiomes were still distinct between plastic types at Day 70, suggesting that differences in the physicochemical characteristics of the underlying plastics continue to exert variable selection of surface microbial communities. A random forest-based sample classifier correctly predicted 93% of plastic types using microbiome compositions. Surface microbiomes have promise for use in forensically identifying plastic types and potential toxicities.
While most crab production for human consumption worldwide comes from capture fisheries, there is increasing production of selected species using aquaculture-based methods. This is both for the purpose of stock replacement and direct yield for human consumption. Disease has limited the ability to produce larval crabs in commercial hatcheries and this together with suitable feeds, are major hurdles in the sustainable development of cultivation methods. Juvenile and adult crabs are also subject to a range of diseases that can cause severe economic loss. Emerging pathogens/parasites are of major importance to crab aquaculture as they can cause high levels of mortality and are difficult to control. Diseases caused by viruses and bacteria receive considerable attention but the dinoflagellate parasites, Hematodinium spp., also warrant concern because of their wide host range and lack of control methods to limit their spread. This concise review examines the emerging diseases in several crabs that have been selected as candidates for aquaculture efforts including Chinese mitten crabs (Eriocheir sinensis), mud crabs (Scylla spp.), swimming crabs (Portunus spp.), blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and shore crabs (Carcinus maenas). The latter is also a prolific invasive species known to harbour diverse macro- and micro-parasites that can affect commercially important bivalves and crustaceans.