Recent Submissions

  • Macrobenthic Community Structure in the Northwestern Arabian Gulf, Twelve Years after the 1991 Oil Spill

    Joydas, Thadickal V.; Qurban, Mohammad A.; Borja, Angel; Krishnakumar, Periyadan K.; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M. (Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media SA, 2017-08-03) [Article]
    The biota in the Arabian Gulf faces stress both from natural (i.e., hyper salinity and high sea surface temperature), and human (i.e., from oil-related activities) sources. The western Arabian Gulf was also impacted by world's largest oil spill (1991 Oil Spill). However, benthic research in this region is scarce and most of the studies have been conducted only in small areas. Here, we present data on macrobenthos collected during 2002–2003 from the open waters and inner bays in the northwestern Arabian Gulf aimed to assess the ecological status and also to evaluate the long-term impact, if any, of the 1991 Oil Spill. A total of 392 macrobenthic taxa with an average (±SE) species richness (S) of 71 ± 2, Shannon-Wiener species diversity (H′) of 4.9 ± 0.1, and density of 3,181 ± 359 ind. m−2 was recorded from the open water stations. The open waters have “slightly disturbed” (according to AZTI's Marine Biotic Index, AMBI) conditions, with “good-high” (according to multivariate-AMBI, M-AMBI) ecological status indicating the absence of long-term impacts of the oil spill. Overall, 162 taxa were recorded from inner bays with average (±SE) values of S 41 ± 9, H′ 3.48 ± 0.39, and density 4,203 ± 1,042 ind. m−2. The lower TPH (Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons) stations (LTS, TPH concentrations <70 mg kg−2) show relatively higher S, H' and density compared to the higher TPH stations (HTS, TPH concentrations ≥100 mg kg−2). In the inner bays, AMBI values indicate slightly disturbed conditions at all stations except one, which is moderately disturbed. M-AMBI values indicate good status at LTS, while, high, good, moderate, and poor status at HTS. The “moderately disturbed” conditions with “moderate-poor” ecological status in some locations of the inner bays specify a severe long-term impact of the oil spill.
  • Larval fish dispersal in a coral-reef seascape

    Almany, Glenn R.; Planes, Serge; Thorrold, Simon R.; Berumen, Michael L.; Bode, Michael; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Bonin, Mary C.; Frisch, Ashley J.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Messmer, Vanessa; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Priest, Mark; Srinivasan, Maya; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P. (Nature Ecology & Evolution, Springer Nature, 2017-05-23) [Article]
    Larval dispersal is a critical yet enigmatic process in the persistence and productivity of marine metapopulations. Empirical data on larval dispersal remain scarce, hindering the use of spatial management tools in efforts to sustain ocean biodiversity and fisheries. Here we document dispersal among subpopulations of clownfish (Amphiprion percula) and butterflyfish (Chaetodon vagabundus) from eight sites across a large seascape (10,000 km2) in Papua New Guinea across 2 years. Dispersal of clownfish was consistent between years, with mean observed dispersal distances of 15 km and 10 km in 2009 and 2011, respectively. A Laplacian statistical distribution (the dispersal kernel) predicted a mean dispersal distance of 13–19 km, with 90% of settlement occurring within 31–43 km. Mean dispersal distances were considerably greater (43–64 km) for butterflyfish, with kernels declining only gradually from spawning locations. We demonstrate that dispersal can be measured on spatial scales sufficient to inform the design of and test the performance of marine reserve networks.
  • Seascape and life-history traits do not predict self-recruitment in a coral reef fish

    Herrera Sarrias, Marcela; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Planes, Serge; Jones, Geoffrey P.; Thorrold, Simon R.; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Almany, Glenn R.; Berumen, Michael L. (Biology Letters, The Royal Society, 2016-08-10) [Article]
    The persistence and resilience of many coral reef species are dependent on rates of connectivity among sub-populations. However, despite increasing research efforts, the spatial scale of larval dispersal remains unpredictable for most marine metapopulations. Here, we assess patterns of larval dispersal in the angelfish Centropyge bicolor in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, using parentage and sibling reconstruction analyses based on 23 microsatellite DNA loci. We found that, contrary to previous findings in this system, self-recruitment (SR) was virtually absent at both the reef (0.4-0.5% at 0.15 km2) and the lagoon scale (0.6-0.8% at approx. 700 km2). While approximately 25%of the collected juveniles were identified as potential siblings, the majority of sibling pairs were sampled from separate reefs. Integrating our findings with earlier research from the same system suggests that geographical setting and life-history traits alone are not suitable predictors of SR and that high levels of localized recruitment are not universal in coral reef fishes. © 2016 The Authors.
  • Congener-specific levels and patterns of polychlorinated biphenyls in edible fish tissue from the central Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia

    Batang, Zenon B.; Mannalamkunnath Alikunhi, Nabeel; Gochfeld, Michael; Burger, Joanna; Aljahdali, Ramzi; Al-Jahdali, Haitham; Aziz, Mohammed A.M.; Al-Jebreen, Dalal; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M. (Science of The Total Environment, Elsevier BV, 2016-08) [Article]
    All 209 congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in edible fish tissue from the central Red Sea coast (Jeddah region) of Saudi Arabia were analyzed by isotope dilution high-resolution gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The upper-bound total PCB (ΣPCB) levels in nine commonly consumed fish species from three areas were 0.2–82.5 ng/g wet weight (17–8450 ng/g lipid weight), which were at the lower end of reported global range and far below international tolerance limits (500–3000 ng/g ww). Dioxin-like congeners contributed up to 12.8% (mean 6.5%) to ΣPCB in tissue samples, with the total PCB toxic equivalencies (TEQs) at a tolerable range (0.05–2.6 pg TEQ/g ww or 2–238 pg TEQ/g lw) for all species. PCB profiles were dominated by moderately chlorinated homologs, mainly hexachlorobiphenyls, but less chlorinated congeners were also consistently elevated, notably in Siganus rivulatus (Area III) and Mugil cephalus (Area I). It remains to be ascertained if the latter were breakdown products or due to fresh inputs. The top congeners based on dominance by both occurrence and abundance were identified as potential markers of ΣPCB in fish tissue, which can be used for future selective biomonitoring in case of reasonable constraints on full congener approach.
  • Ongoing decline of shark populations in the Eastern Red Sea

    Spaet, Julia L.Y.; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Biological Conservation, Elsevier BV, 2016-06-30) [Article]
    Information on the abundance and diversity of Red Sea elasmobranchs is notoriously scarce, even though sharks are among the most profitable fisheries of the region. Effective conservation would ideally entail baselines on pristine conditions, yet no such data is available for the Red Sea. To collect distribution and abundance data on Red Sea elasmobranchs, we conducted a dedicated longline and Baited Remote Underwater Video system (BRUVs) sampling program along the entire Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia over the course of two years. Both survey techniques were opportunistically employed at central and southern Saudi Arabian (SA) Red Sea reef systems. In addition, BRUVs were employed in the northern SA Red Sea and at selected reef systems in Sudan. Shark catch per unit effort (CPUE) data for BRUVs and longline surveys were compared to published data from non-Red Sea reef systems. This comparison revealed CPUE estimates several orders of magnitude lower for both survey methods in the SA Red Sea compared to other reef systems around the world. Catch per unit effort values of BRUVs on Sudanese reefs on the contrary were within the range of estimates from various locations where sharks are considered common. We argue that decades of heavy fishing pressure on Red Sea marine resources has significantly altered the community structure of SA Red Sea reefs. There is an urgent need to establish effective management strategies for species of highest conservation concern. Our results have the potential to be used as a baseline, if such management strategies were to be established. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd
  • Culture dependent bacteria in commercial fishes: Qualitative assessment and molecular identification using 16S rRNA gene sequencing

    Mannalamkunnath Alikunhi, Nabeel; Batang, Zenon B.; Aljehdali, Haitham; Aziz, Mohammed A.M.; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M. (Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, Elsevier BV, 2016-05-27) [Article]
    Fish contaminations have been extensively investigated in Saudi coasts, but studies pertaining to bacterial pathogens are meager. We conducted qualitative assessment and molecular identification of culture dependent bacteria in 13 fish species collected from three fishing sites and a local fish market in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The bacterial counts of gills, skin, gut and muscle were examined on agar plates of Macconkey’s (Mac), Eosin methylene blue (EMB) and Thiosulfate Citrate Bile Salts (TCBS) culture media. Bacterial counts exhibited interspecific, locational and behavioral differences. Mugil cephalus exhibited higher counts on TCBS (all body-parts), Mac (gills, muscle and gut) and EMB (gills and muscle). Samples of Area I were with higher counts, concurrent to seawater and sediment samples, revealing the influence of residing environment on fish contamination. Among feeding habits, detritivorous fish harbored higher bacterial counts, while carnivorous group accounted for lesser counts. Counts were higher in skin of fish obtained from market compared to field samples, revealing market as a major source of contamination. Bacterial counts of skin were positively correlated with other body-parts indicating influence of surface bacterial biota in overall quality of fish. Hence, hygienic practices and proper storage facilities in the Jeddah fish market is recommended to prevent adverse effect of food-borne illness in consumers. Rahnella aquatilis (Enterobacteriaceae) and Photobacterium damselae (Vibrionaceae) were among the dominant species identified from fish muscle samples using Sanger sequencing of 16S rRNA. This bacterial species are established human pathogens capable of causing foodborne illness with severe antibiotic resistance. Opportunistic pathogens such as Hafnia sp. (Enterobacteriaceae) and Pseudomonas stutzeri (Pseudomonadaceae) were also identified from fish muscle. These findings indicate bacterial contamination risk in commonly consumed fish of Jeddah region.
  • Data from: Environmental switching during biofilm development in a cold seep system and functional determinants of species sorting

    Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Bo, Yang; Cao, Huiluo; Cai, Lin; Chen, Lianguo; Zhou, Guowei; Sun, Jin; Zhang, Xixiang; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Qian, Pei-Yuan (Dryad Digital Repository, 2016) [Dataset]
  • Data from: Seascape and life-history traits do not predict self-recruitment in a coral reef fish

    Herrera Sarrias, Marcela; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Planes, Serge; Jones, Geoffrey P.; Thorrold, Simon R.; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Almany, Glenn R.; Berumen, Michael L. (Dryad Digital Repository, 2016) [Dataset]
  • Environmental switching during biofilm development in a cold seep system and functional determinants of species sorting

    Zhang, Weipeng; Tian, Renmao; Yang, Bo; Cao, Huiluo; Cai, Lin; Chen, Lianguo; Zhou, Guowei; Sun, Jingya; Zhang, Xixiang; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Qian, Pei-Yuan (Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2015-11-28) [Article]
    The functional basis for species sorting theory remains elusive, especially for microbial community assembly in deep sea environments. Using artificial surface-based biofilm models, our recent work revealed taxonomic succession during biofilm development in a newly defined cold seep system, the Thuwal cold seeps II, which comprises a brine pool and the adjacent normal bottom water (NBW) to form a metacommunity via the potential immigration of organisms from one patch to another. Here, we designed an experiment to investigate the effects of environmental switching between the brine pool and the NBW on biofilm assembly, which could reflect environmental filtering effects during bacterial immigration to new environments. Analyses of 16S rRNA genes of 71 biofilm samples suggested that the microbial composition of biofilms established in new environments was determined by both the source community and the incubation conditions. Moreover, a comparison of 18 metagenomes provided evidence for biofilm community assembly that was based primarily on functional features rather than taxonomic identities; metal ion resistance and amino acid metabolism were the major species sorting determinants for the succession of biofilm communities. Genome binning and pathway reconstruction of two bacterial species (Marinobacter sp. and Oleispira sp.) further demonstrated metal ion resistance and amino acid metabolism as functional traits conferring the survival of habitat generalists in both the brine pool and NBW. The results of the present study sheds new light on microbial community assembly in special habitats and bridges a gap in species sorting theory.
  • Seascape genetics along environmental gradients in the Arabian Peninsula: insights from ddRAD sequencing of anemonefishes

    Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; DiBattista, Joseph; Piatek, Marek J.; Gaither, Michelle R.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2015-11-17) [Article]
    Understanding the processes that shape patterns of genetic structure across space is a central aim of landscape genetics. However, it remains unclear how geographic features and environmental variables shape gene flow, particularly for marine species in large complex seascapes. Here, we evaluated the genomic composition of the two-band anemonefish Amphiprion bicinctus across its entire geographic range in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as its close relative, Amphiprion omanensis endemic to the southern coast of Oman. Both the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea are complex and environmentally heterogeneous marine systems that provide an ideal scenario to address these questions. Our findings confirm the presence of two genetic clusters previously reported for A. bicinctus in the Red Sea. Genetic structure analyses suggest a complex seascape configuration, with evidence of both Isolation by Distance (IBD) and Isolation by Environment (IBE). In addition to IBD and IBE, genetic structure among sites was best explained when two barriers to gene flow were also accounted for. One of these coincides with a strong oligotrophic-eutrophic gradient at around 16-20˚N in the Red Sea. The other agrees with an historical bathymetric barrier at the straight of Bab al Mandab. Finally, these data support the presence of inter-specific hybrids at an intermediate suture zone at Socotra and indicate complex patterns of genomic admixture in the Gulf of Aden with evidence of introgression between species. Our findings highlight the power of recent genomic approaches to resolve subtle patterns of gene flow in marine seascapes.
  • Zonation of Microbial Communities by a Hydrothermal Mound in the Atlantis II Deep (the Red Sea)

    Wang, Yong; Li, Jiang Tao; He, Li Sheng; Yang, Bo; Gao, Zhao Ming; Cao, Hui Luo; Batang, Zenon B.; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Qian, Pei-Yuan (PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2015-10-20) [Article]
    In deep-sea geothermal rift zones, the dispersal of hydrothermal fluids of moderately-high temperatures typically forms subseafloor mounds. Major mineral components of the crust covering the mound are barite and metal sulfides. As a result of the continental rifting along the Red Sea, metalliferous sediments accumulate on the seafloor of the Atlantis II Deep. In the present study, a barite crust was identified in a sediment core from the Atlantis II Deep, indicating the formation of a hydrothermal mound at the sampling site. Here, we examined how such a dense barite crust could affect the local environment and the distribution of microbial inhabitants. Our results demonstrate distinctive features of mineral components and microbial communities in the sediment layers separated by the barite crust. Within the mound, archaea accounted for 65% of the community. In contrast, the sediments above the barite boundary were overwhelmed by bacteria. The composition of microbial communities under the mound was similar to that in the sediments of the nearby Discovery Deep and marine cold seeps. This work reveals the zonation of microbial communities after the formation of the hydrothermal mound in the subsurface sediments of the rift basin.
  • Development of polymorphic microsatellite loci for conservation genetic studies of the coral reef fish Centropyge bicolor

    Herrera Sarrias, Marcela; Saenz-Agudelo, P.; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Journal of Fish Biology, Wiley, 2015-08-14) [Article]
    A total of 23 novel polymorphic microsatellite marker loci were developed for the angelfish Centropyge bicolor through 454 sequencing, and further tested on two spatially separated populations (90 individuals each) from Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea. The mean ± s.e. number of alleles per locus was 14·65 ± 1·05, and mean ± s.e. observed (HO) and expected (HE) heterozygosity frequencies were 0·676 ± 0·021 and 0·749 ± 0·018, respectively. The markers reported here constitute the first specific set for this genus and will be useful for future conservation genetic studies in the Indo-Pacific region. © 2015 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
  • Synchronized dynamics of bacterial niche-specific functions during biofilm development in a cold seep brine pool

    Zhang, Weipeng; Wang, Yong; Bougouffa, Salim; Tian, Renmao; Cao, Huiluo; Li, Yongxin; Cai, Lin; Wong, Yue Him; Zhang, Gen; Zhou, Guowei; Zhang, Xixiang; Bajic, Vladimir B.; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Qian, Pei-Yuan (Environmental Microbiology, Wiley, 2015-07-14) [Article]
    The biology of biofilm in deep-sea environments is barely being explored. Here, biofilms were developed at the brine pool (characterized by limited carbon sources) and the normal bottom water adjacent to Thuwal cold seeps. Comparative metagenomics based on 50 Gb datasets identified polysaccharide degradation, nitrate reduction, and proteolysis as enriched functional categories for brine biofilms. The genomes of two dominant species: a novel deltaproteobacterium and a novel epsilonproteobacterium in the brine biofilms were reconstructed. Despite rather small genome sizes, the deltaproteobacterium possessed enhanced polysaccharide fermentation pathways, whereas the epsilonproteobacterium was a versatile nitrogen reactor possessing nar, nap and nif gene clusters. These metabolic functions, together with specific regulatory and hypersaline-tolerant genes, made the two bacteria unique compared with their close relatives including those from hydrothermal vents. Moreover, these functions were regulated by biofilm development, as both the abundance and the expression level of key functional genes were higher in later-stage biofilms, and co-occurrences between the two dominant bacteria were demonstrated. Collectively, unique mechanisms were revealed: i) polysaccharides fermentation, proteolysis interacted with nitrogen cycling to form a complex chain for energy generation; ii) remarkably, exploiting and organizing niche-specific functions would be an important strategy for biofilm-dependent adaptation to the extreme conditions.
  • Pyrosequencing revealed shifts of prokaryotic communities between healthy and disease-like tissues of the Red Sea sponge Crella cyathophora

    Gao, Zhao-Ming; Wang, Yong; Tian, Ren-Mao; Lee, On On; Wong, Yue Him; Batang, Zenon B.; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Lafi, Feras Fawzi; Bajic, Vladimir B.; Qian, Pei-Yuan (PeerJ, PeerJ, 2015-06-11) [Article]
    Sponge diseases have been widely reported, yet the causal factors and major pathogenic microbes remain elusive. In this study, two individuals of the sponge Crella cyathophora in total that showed similar disease-like characteristics were collected from two different locations along the Red Sea coast separated by more than 30 kilometers. The disease-like parts of the two individuals were both covered by green surfaces, and the body size was much smaller compared with adjacent healthy regions. Here, using high-throughput pyrosequencing technology, we investigated the prokaryotic communities in healthy and disease-like sponge tissues as well as adjacent seawater. Microbes in healthy tissues belonged mainly to the Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidetes, and were much more diverse at the phylum level than reported previously. Interestingly, the disease-like tissues from the two sponge individuals underwent shifts of prokaryotic communities and were both enriched with a novel clade affiliated with the phylum Verrucomicrobia, implying its intimate connection with the disease-like Red Sea sponge C. cyathophora. Enrichment of the phylum Verrucomicrobia was also considered to be correlated with the presence of algae assemblages forming the green surface of the disease-like sponge tissues. This finding represents an interesting case of sponge disease and is valuable for further study.
  • Characterization and cross-amplification of microsatellite markers in four species of anemonefish (Pomacentridae, Amphiprion spp.)

    Bonin, Mary C.; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Harrison, Hugo B.; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Van Der Meer, Martin H.; Mansour, Hicham; Perumal, Sadhasivam; Jones, Geoffrey P.; Berumen, Michael L. (Marine Biodiversity, Springer Nature, 2015-04-09) [Article]
    Anemonefish are iconic symbols of coral reefs and have become model systems for research on larval dispersal and population connectivity in coral reef fishes. Here we present 24 novel microsatellite markers across four species of anemonefish and also test 35 previously published markers for cross-amplification on two anemonefish species in order to facilitate further research on their population genetics and phylogenetics. Novel loci were isolated from sequences derived from microsatellite-enriched or 454 GS-FLX shotgun sequence libraries developed using congeneric DNA. Primer testing successfully identified 15 new microsatellite loci for A. percula, 4 for A. melanopus, 3 for A. akindynos, and 2 for A. omanensis. These novel microsatellite loci were polymorphic with a mean of 10 ± 1.6 SE (standard error) alleles per locus and an average observed heterozygosity of 0.647 ± 0.032 SE. Reliable cross-amplification of 12 and 26 of the 35 previously published Amphiprion markers was achieved for A. melanopus and A. akindynos, respectively, suggesting that the use of markers developed from the DNA of congeners can provide a quick and cost-effective alternative to the isolation of new loci. Together, the markers presented here provide an important resource for ecological, evolutionary, and conservation genetic research on anemonefishes that will inform broader conservation and management actions for coral reef fishes. © 2015 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
  • Not finding Nemo: limited reef-scale retention in a coral reef fish

    Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Zhan, Peng; Hoteit, Ibrahim; Berumen, Michael L. (Coral Reefs, Springer Nature, 2015-02-03) [Article]
    The spatial scale of larval dispersal is a key predictor of marine metapopulation dynamics and an important factor in the design of reserve networks. Over the past 15 yr, studies of larval dispersal in coral reef fishes have generated accumulating evidence of consistently high levels of self-recruitment and local retention at various spatial scales. These findings have, to a certain degree, created a paradigm shift toward the perception that large fractions of locally produced recruitment may be the rule rather than the exception. Here we examined the degree of localized settlement in an anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, at a solitary coral reef in the central Red Sea by integrating estimates of self-recruitment obtained from genetic parentage analysis with predictions of local retention derived from a biophysical dispersal model parameterized with real-time physical forcing. Self-recruitment at the reef scale (c. 0.7 km2) was virtually absent during two consecutive January spawning events (1.4 % in 2012 and 0 % in 2013). Predicted levels of local retention at the reef scale varied temporally, but were comparatively low for both simulations (7 % in 2012 and 0 % in 2013). At the same time, the spatial scale of simulated dispersal was restricted to approximately 20 km from the source. Model predictions of reef-scale larval retention were highly dependent on biological parameters, underlining the need for further empirical validations of larval traits over a range of species. Overall, our findings present an urgent caution when assuming the potential for self-replenishment in small marine reserves.
  • Captive rearing of the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea demonstrates remarkable physiological plasticity

    Roik, Anna Krystyna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Muller, Paul Joachim; Voolstra, Christian R. (PeerJ, PeerJ, 2015-01-20) [Article]
    The presence of the cosmopolitan deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula has recently been documented in the Red Sea, occurring in warm (>20 °C), oxygen- and nutrient-limited habitats. We collected colonies of this species from the central Red Sea that successfully resided in aquaria for more than one year. During this period the corals were exposed to increased oxygen levels and nutrition ad libitum unlike in their natural habitat. Specimens of long-term reared E. fistula colonies were incubated for 24 h and calcification (G) as well as respiration rates (R) were measured. In comparison to on-board measurements of G and R rates on freshly collected specimens, we found that G was increased while R was decreased. E. fistula shows extensive tissue growth and polyp proliferation in aquaculture and can be kept at conditions that notably differ from its natural habitat. Its ability to cope with rapid and prolonged changes in regard to prevailing environmental conditions indicates a wide physiological plasticity. This may explain in part the cosmopolitan distribution of this species and emphasizes its value as a deep-sea coral model to study mechanisms of acclimation and adaptation.
  • Data from: Seascape genetics along environmental gradients in the Arabian Peninsula: insights from ddRAD sequencing of anemonefishes

    Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; DiBattista, Joseph D.; Piatek, Marek J.; Gaither, Michelle R.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Dryad Digital Repository, 2015) [Dataset]
  • The role of individual variation in marine larval dispersal

    Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media SA, 2014-12-08) [Article]
    The exchange of individuals among patchy habitats plays a central role in spatial ecology and metapopulation dynamics. Dispersal is frequently observed to vary non-randomly within populations (e.g., short vs. long), indicating that variability among individuals may shape heterogeneity in patterns of connectivity. The concept of context- and condition-dependent dispersal describes the balance between the costs and benefits of dispersal that arises from the interaction of temporal and spatial landscape heterogeneity (the context) with phenotypic variability among individuals (the condition). While this hypothesis is widely accepted in terrestrial theory, it remains questionable to what extent the concept of adaptive dispersal strategies may apply to marine larval dispersal, a process that is largely determined by stochastic forces. Yet, larvae of many taxa exhibit strong navigational capabilities and there is mounting evidence of widespread intra-specific variability in biological traits that are potentially correlated with dispersal potential. While so far there are few known examples of real larval dispersal polymorphisms, intra-specifically variable dispersal strategies may be common in marine systems. Whether adaptive or not, it is becoming apparent that inter-individual heterogeneity in morphology, behavior, condition, and life history traits may have critical effects on population-level heterogeneity in dispersal. Here, we explore the eco-evolutionary causes and consequences of intrinsic and extrinsic variability on larval dispersal by synthesizing the existing literature and drawing conceptual parallels from terrestrial theory. We emphasize the potential importance of larval dispersal polymorphisms in marine population dynamics.
  • Species sorting during biofilm assembly by artificial substrates deployed in a cold seep system

    Zhang, Wei Peng; Wang, Yong; Tian, Ren Mao; Bougouffa, Salim; Yang, Bo; Cao, Hui Luo; Zhang, Gen; Wong, Yue Him; Xu, Wei; Batang, Zenon B.; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Zhang, Xixiang; Qian, Pei-Yuan (Scientific Reports, Springer Nature, 2014-10-17) [Article]
    Studies focusing on biofilm assembly in deep-sea environments are rarely conducted. To examine the effects of substrate type on microbial community assembly, biofilms were developed on different substrates for different durations at two locations in the Red Sea: in a brine pool and in nearby bottom water (NBW) adjacent to the Thuwal cold seep II. The composition of the microbial communities in 51 biofilms and water samples were revealed by classification of pyrosequenced 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Together with the microscopic characteristics of the biofilms, the results indicate a stronger selection effect by the substrates on the microbial assembly in the brine pool compared with the NBW. Moreover, the selection effect by substrate type was stronger in the early stages compared with the later stages of the biofilm development. These results are consistent with the hypotheses proposed in the framework of species sorting theory, which states that the power of species sorting during microbial community assembly is dictated by habitat conditions, duration and the structure of the source community. Therefore, the results of this study shed light on the control strategy underlying biofilm-associated marine fouling and provide supporting evidence for ecological theories important for understanding the formation of deep-sea biofilms.

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