Recent Submissions

  • Species delineation and hybrid identification using diagnostic nuclear markers for Plectropomus leopardus and Plectropomus maculatus

    He, Song; Harrison, Hugo B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Elsevier BV, 2018-06-01)
    Diagnostic molecular markers are an essential tool in the study of species’ ecology and evolution, particularly in closely related and sympatric species. Furthermore, the increasing awareness of wild-hybrids has led to a renewed interest in rapid diagnostic assays. Here, we test the ability of two mitochondrial (Cytb and COI) and two nuclear markers (ETS2 and TMO-4c4) to confidently discriminate purebred P. leopardus and P. maculatus and their first-generation hybrids. A sample of 48 purebred individuals and 91 interspecific hybrids were used in this study and their delineation confirmed using a set of microsatellite markers. Our results indicate mitochondrial markers could not distinguish even between species but both nuclear markers confidently identified species and first-generation hybrids. However, later-generation hybrids could not always be confidently identified due to on-going introgression between species. Our findings provide a robust tool to distinguish purebred individuals and interspecific hybrids in a pair of species with an unexpectedly high incidence of hybridization. The quick species discrimination abilities provided by these diagnostic markers are important for stock assessment and recruitment studies of these important fishery species.
  • Towards informed metrics for examining the role of human-induced animal responses in tag studies on wild animals

    Wilson, Rory P.; Holton, Mark; Wilson, Vianney L.; Gunner, Richard; Tysse, Brenda; Wilson, Gwendoline I; Quintana, Flavio; Duarte, Carlos M.; Scantlebury, D. Michael (Wiley, 2018-05-31)
    Two prime issues can detrimentally affect animals that have been equipped with tags; (i) the effect of the capture and restraint process and (ii) the effect of the tag itself. This work examines some of the issues surrounding quantification of tag effects on wild animals for both restrained and free-living animals. A new method to quantify stress effects based on monitoring ventilation rates in relation to activity is suggested for restrained animals which may help improve the practice of handling animals. It is also suggested that various metrics, many derived from accelerometers, can be examined in tagged wild animals to examine the change in behaviours over time with a view to having a better understanding of welfare issues, assuring the quality of recorded data and informing best practice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • An improved primer set and amplification protocol with increased specificity and sensitivity targeting the Symbiodinium ITS2 region

    Hume, Benjamin C.C.; Ziegler, Maren; Poulain, Julie; Pochon, Xavier; Romac, Sarah; Boissin, Emilie; de Vargas, Colomban; Planes, Serge; Wincker, Patrick; Voolstra, Christian R. (PeerJ, 2018-05-23)
    The Internal Transcribed Spacer 2 (ITS2) rRNA gene is a commonly targeted genetic marker to assess diversity of Symbiodinium, a dinoflagellate genus of algal endosymbionts that is pervasively associated with marine invertebrates, and notably reef-building corals. Here we tested three commonly used ITS2 primer pairs (SYM_VAR_5.8S2/SYM_VAR_REV, ITSintfor2/ITSReverse, and ITS-DINO/ITS2Rev2) with regard to amplification specificity and sensitivity towards Symbiodinium, as well as sub-genera taxonomic bias. We tested these primers over a range of sample types including three coral species, coral surrounding water, reef surface water, and open ocean water to assess their suitability for use in large-scale next generation sequencing projects and to develop a standardised PCR protocol. We found the SYM_VAR_5.8S2/SYM_VAR_REV primers to perform superior to the other tested ITS2 primers. We therefore used this primer pair to develop a standardised PCR protocol. To do this, we tested the effect of PCR-to-PCR variation, annealing temperature, cycle number, and different polymerase systems on the PCR efficacy. The Symbiodinium ITS2 PCR protocol developed here delivers improved specificity and sensitivity towards Symbiodinium with apparent minimal sub-genera taxonomic bias across all sample types. In particular, the protocol’s ability to amplify Symbiodinium from a range of environmental sources will facilitate the study of Symbiodinium populations across biomes.
  • Cross-shelf investigation of coral reef cryptic benthic organisms reveals diversity patterns of the hidden majority

    Pearman, John K.; Leray, M.; Villalobos, R.; Machida, R. J.; Berumen, Michael L.; Knowlton, N.; Carvalho, Susana (Springer Nature, 2018-05-18)
    Coral reefs harbor diverse assemblages of organisms yet the majority of this diversity is hidden within the three dimensional structure of the reef and neglected using standard visual surveys. This study uses Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) and amplicon sequencing methodologies, targeting mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and 18S rRNA genes, to investigate changes in the cryptic reef biodiversity. ARMS, deployed at 11 sites across a near- to off-shore gradient in the Red Sea were dominated by Porifera (sessile fraction), Arthropoda and Annelida (mobile fractions). The two primer sets detected different taxa lists, but patterns in community composition and structure were similar. While the microhabitat of the ARMS deployment affected the community structure, a clear cross-shelf gradient was observed for all fractions investigated. The partitioning of beta-diversity revealed that replacement (i.e. the substitution of species) made the highest contribution with richness playing a smaller role. Hence, different reef habitats across the shelf are relevant to regional diversity, as they harbor different communities, a result with clear implications for the design of Marine Protected Areas. ARMS can be vital tools to assess biodiversity patterns in the generally neglected but species-rich cryptic benthos, providing invaluable information for the management and conservation of hard-bottomed habitats over local and global scales.
  • High-Quality Draft Single-Cell Genome Sequence Belonging to the Archaeal Candidate Division SA1, Isolated from Nereus Deep in the Red Sea

    Ngugi, David; Stingl, Ulrich (American Society for Microbiology, 2018-05-09)
    Candidate division SA1 encompasses a phylogenetically coherent archaeal group ubiquitous in deep hypersaline anoxic brines around the globe. Recently, the genome sequences of two cultivated representatives from hypersaline soda lake sediments were published. Here, we present a single-cell genome sequence from Nereus Deep in the Red Sea that represents a putatively novel family within SA1.
  • Microbial ecology of deep-sea hypersaline anoxic basins

    Merlino, Giuseppe; Barozzi, Alan; Michoud, Gregoire; Ngugi, David; Daffonchio, Daniele (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-05-09)
    Deep hypersaline anoxic basins (DHABs) are unique water bodies occurring within fractures at the bottom of the sea, where the dissolution of anciently buried evaporites created dense anoxic brines that are separated by a chemocline/pycnocline from the overlying oxygenated deep-seawater column. DHABs have been described in the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the Red Sea. They are characterized by prolonged historical separation of the brines from the upper water column due to lack of mixing and by extreme conditions of salinity, anoxia, and relatively high hydrostatic pressure and temperatures. Due to these combined selection factors, unique microbial assemblages thrive in these polyextreme ecosystems. The topological localization of the different taxa in the brine-seawater transition zone coupled with the metabolic interactions and niche adaptations determine the metabolic functioning and biogeochemistry of DHABs. In particular, inherent metabolic strategies accompanied by genetic adaptations have provided insights on how prokaryotic communities can adapt to salt-saturated condition. Here, we review the current knowledge on the diversity, genomics, metabolisms and ecology of prokaryotes in DHABs.
  • Remote sensing mapping of macroalgal farms by modifying thresholds in the classification tree

    Zheng, Yuhan; Duarte, Carlos M.; Chen, Jiang; Li, Dan; Lou, Zhaohan; Wu, Jiaping (Informa UK Limited, 2018-05-07)
    Remote sensing is the main approach used to classify and map aquatic vegetation, and classification tree (CT) analysis is superior to various classification methods. Based on previous studies, modified CT can be developed from traditional CT by adjusting the thresholds based on the statistical relationship between spectral features to classify different images without ground-truth data. However, no studies have yet employed this method to resolve marine vegetation. In this study, three Gao-Fen 1 satellite images obtained with the same sensor on January 30, 2014, November 5, 2014, and January 21, 2015 were selected, and two features were then employed to extract macroalgae from aquaculture farms from the seawater background. Besides, object-based classification and other image analysis methods were adopted to improve the classification accuracy in this study. Results show that the overall accuracies of traditional CTs for three images are 92.0%, 94.2% and 93.9%, respectively, whereas the overall accuracies of the two corresponding modified CTs for images obtained on January 21, 2015 and November 5, 2014 are 93.1% and 89.5%, respectively. This indicates modified CTs can help map macroalgae with multi-date imagery and monitor the spatiotemporal distribution of macroalgae in coastal environments.
  • Use of unmanned aerial vehicles for efficient beach litter monitoring

    Martin, Cecilia; Parkes, Stephen; Zhang, Qiannan; Zhang, Xiangliang; McCabe, Matthew; Duarte, Carlos M. (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-05)
    A global beach litter assessment is challenged by use of low-efficiency methodologies and incomparable protocols that impede data integration and acquisition at a national scale. The implementation of an objective, reproducible and efficient approach is therefore required. Here we show the application of a remote sensing based methodology using a test beach located on the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coastline. Litter was recorded via image acquisition from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, while an automatic processing of the high volume of imagery was developed through machine learning, employed for debris detection and classification in three categories. Application of the method resulted in an almost 40 times faster beach coverage when compared to a standard visual-census approach. While the machine learning tool faced some challenges in correctly detecting objects of interest, first classification results are promising and motivate efforts to further develop the technique and implement it at much larger scales.
  • Thermal Limits and Thresholds of Red Sea Biota

    Chaidez, Veronica (2018-05)
    As ocean temperatures continue to rise, the effect of temperature on marine organisms becomes highly relevant. The Red Sea is the warmest sea and is rapidly warming with current surface temperatures (28 – 34 °C) already exceeding those of most tropical systems. This has major consequences for organisms that may already find themselves at their thermal limits. The aim of this project was to define the thermal limits and thresholds of certain Red Sea species. Firstly, to better understand the thermal regimes of the Red Sea, we looked at decadal trends in maximum sea surface temperature across the basin. Then, we tested the thermal capacities of Red Sea mangroves and zooplankton, two key ecological groups, by performing thermal stress experiments in the laboratory. We found that the Red Sea basin is warming faster than the global average (0.17 °C decade-1), the thermal limit of mangrove propagules is between 33 and 35 °C, and the limits among the most common zooplankton groups range from 30 to 36 °C. This project gives us a better understanding of how organisms respond to extreme temperatures and how they may be affected in a future, warmer, ocean.
  • Simulating Coral Reef Connectivity in the Southern Red Sea

    Wang, Yixin (2018-05)
    Connectivity is an important component of coral reef studies for its role in the enhancement of ecosystem resilience. Previous genetic structure and physical circulation studies in the Red Sea reveal a homogeneity within the coral reef complexes in the central and northern parts of the basin. Yet, genetic isolation and relatively low connectivity has been observed in the southern Red Sea. Raitsos et al. (2017) recently hypothesized that coral reefs in the southern Red Sea are more connected with regions outside the basin, rather than with the central and northern Red Sea. Using a physical circulation approach based on a 3-D backward particle tracking simulation, we further investigate this hypothesis. A long-term (> 10 years), very high resolution (1km) MITgcm simulation is used to provide detailed information on velocity in the complex coastal regions of the Red Sea and the adjacent narrow Bab-El-Mandeb Strait. The particle tracking simulation results support the initial hypothesis that the coastal regions in the southern Red Sea exhibit a consistently higher connectivity with the regions outside the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait, than with the central and northern Red Sea. Substantially high levels of connectivity, facilitated by the circulation and eddies, is observed with the coastal regions in the Gulf of Aden. A strong seasonality in connectivity, related to the monsoon-driven circulation, is also evident with the regions outside of the Red Sea. The winter surface intrusion plays a leading role in transporting the particles from the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean into the Red Sea, while the summer subsurface intrusion also supports the transport of particles into the Red Sea in the intermediate layer. In addition, the connectivity with the central and northern Red Sea is more affected by the intensity of the eddies. Evidence also suggests that potential connectivity exists between the coastal southern Red Sea and the coasts of Oman, Socotra, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and the north coast of the Madagascar.
  • Microhabitat Association of Cryptobenthic Reef Fishes (Teleostei: Gobiidae) in the Central Red Sea

    Troyer, Emily (2018-05)
    Knowledge of biodiversity within an ecosystem is essential when trying to understand the function and importance of that ecosystem. A challenge when assessing biodiversity of reef habitats is cryptobenthic fishes, which encompass many groups that have close associations with the substrate. These fishes can be behaviorally cryptic, by seeking refuge within the reef matrix, or visually cryptic, using cryptic coloration to match the surrounding habitat. These factors make visual surveys inadequate for sampling these fishes. One such group of cryptobenthic fishes are the gobies, family Gobiidae, which currently represent over 1600 species, although new species are continually being discovered. Gobies are often small (less than 5 cm), and many species will be associated with a very specific microhabitat type. Due to the understudied nature of the Red Sea, little is known about habitat preferences of gobies within the region. In order to determine the differences in goby community structure within the central Red Sea, fishes were sampled at one reef using 1 m² enclosed rotenone stations from three distinct microhabitats: hard coral, rubble, and sand. Following collection, specimens were photographed and sequenced using COI, to aid in species identification. 232 individuals were collected representing 31 species of goby. Rubble microhabitats were found to host the majority of collected gobies (69%), followed by hard coral (20.6%), then sand (9.9%). Goby assemblages in the three microhabitats were significantly different from each other, and evidence of habitat-specialists was found. These results provide essential baseline information about the ecology of understudied cryptobenthic fishes that can be used in future large-scale studies in the Red Sea region.
  • Global species delimitation and phylogeography of the circumtropical ‘sexy shrimp’ Thor amboinensis reveals a cryptic species complex and secondary contact in the Indo-West Pacific

    Titus, Benjamin M.; Daly, Marymegan; Hamilton, Natalie; Berumen, Michael L.; Baeza, J. Antonio (Wiley, 2018-04-27)
    Aim The “sexy shrimp” Thor amboinensis is currently considered a single circumtropical species. However, the tropical oceans are partitioned by hard and soft barriers to dispersal, providing ample opportunity for allopatric speciation. Herein, we test the null hypothesis that T. amboinensis is a single global species, reconstruct its global biogeographical history, and comment on population‐level patterns throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic. Location Coral reefs in all tropical oceans. Methods Specimens of Thor amboinensis were obtained through field collection and museum holdings. We used one mitochondrial (COI) and two nuclear (NaK, enolase) gene fragments for global species delimitation and phylogenetic analyses (n = 83 individuals, 30 sample localities), while phylogeographical reconstruction in the TWA was based on COI only (n = 303 individuals, 10 sample localities). Results We found evidence for at least five cryptic lineages (9%–22% COI pairwise sequence divergence): four in the Indo‐West Pacific and one in the Tropical Western Atlantic. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed that endemic lineages from Japan and the South Central Pacific are more closely related to the Tropical Western Atlantic lineage than to a co‐occurring lineage that is widespread throughout the Indo‐West Pacific. Concatenated and species tree phylogenetic analyses differ in the placement of an endemic Red Sea lineage and suggest alternate dispersal pathways into the Atlantic. Phylogeographical reconstruction throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic reveals little genetic structure over more than 3,000 km. Main conclusions Thor amboinensis is a species complex that has undergone a series of allopatric speciation events and whose members are in secondary contact in the Indo‐West Pacific. Nuclear‐ and mitochondrial‐ gene phylogenies show evidence of introgression between lineages inferred to have been separated more than 20 Ma. Phylogenetic discordance between multi‐locus analyses suggest that T. amboinensis originated in the Tethys sea and dispersed into the Atlantic and Indo‐West Pacific through the Tethys seaway or, alternatively, originated in the Indo‐West Pacific and dispersed into the Atlantic around South Africa. Population‐level patterns in the Caribbean indicate extensive gene flow across the region.
  • PAHs sensitivity of picophytoplankton populations in the Red Sea

    Kottuparambil, Sreejith; Agusti, Susana (Elsevier BV, 2018-04-25)
    In this study, we investigated the in situ responses of Red Sea picophytoplankton, the dominant phytoplankton group in the oligotrophic ocean, to two toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenanthrene and pyrene. The experiments were conducted across a latitudinal gradient of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea, an area sensitive to oil pollution. We observed significant adverse effects on the growth and abundance of the picocyanobacteria Synechococcus and picoeukaryotes, at all stations sampled. Prochlorococcus, which was abundant only at one of the stations, also appeared to be affected. Pyrene was found to be more toxic to phytoplankton at all stations. In general, picoeukaryotes exhibited higher sensitivity to PAHs than Synechococcus. Populations in the highly oligotrophic Northern region of the Red Sea were more tolerant to PAHs, presumably influenced by the natural selection of more resistant strains of phytoplankton due to the prolonged exposure to PAHs. Toxicity threshold values estimated here are higher than those reported for picophytoplankton from other oligotrophic marine waters and exceed by far the natural levels of PAHs in many oceans. Our findings reveal a possible adaptation of picophytoplankton populations to oil-related contaminants, which may clearly influence their spatial distribution patterns in the Red Sea.
  • Microplastic in the gastrointestinal tract of fishes along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast

    Baalkhuyur, Fadiyah M.; Bin Dohaish, El-Jawaher A.; Elhalwagy, Manal E.A.; Mannalamkunnath Alikunhi, Nabeel; Al-Suwailem, Abdulaziz M.; Røstad, Anders; Coker, Darren James; Berumen, Michael L.; Duarte, Carlos M. (Elsevier BV, 2018-04-24)
    This study assesses the presence of microplastic litter in the contents of the gastrointestinal tract of 26 commercial and non-commercial fish species from four difference habitats sampled along the Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea. A total of 178 individual were examined for microplastics. In total, 26 microplastic fragments were found. Of these, 16 being films (61.5%) and 10 being fishing thread (38.5%). FTIR analysis revealed that the most abundant polymers were polypropylene and polyethylene. The grouper (Epinephelus spp.) sampled at Jazan registered the highest number of ingested microplastics. This fish species is benthic and feeds on benthic invertebrates. Although differences in the abundance of microplastic ingestion among species were not statistically significant, a significant change was observed when the level of ingestion of microplastics particles was compared among the habitats. The higher abundance of microplastics particles may be related to the habitats of fish and the presence of microplastics debris near the seabed. The results of this study represent a first evidence that microplastic pollution represents an emerging threat to Red Sea fishes, their food web and human consumers.
  • Sonification of Animal Tracks as an Alternative Representation of Multi-Dimensional Data: A Northern Elephant Seal Example

    Duarte, Carlos M.; Riker, Paul W.; Srinivasan, Madhusudhanan; Robinson, Patrick W.; Gallo-Reynoso, Juan P.; Costa, Daniel P. (Frontiers Media SA, 2018-04-20)
    Understanding movement of marine megafauna across the ocean is largely based on approaches and models based on analysis of tracks of single animals. While this has led to major progress, the possibility of concerted group dynamics has not been sufficiently examined, possibly due to challenges in exploring massive amounts of data required to this end. Here we report a sonification experiment, where the collective movement of northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) was explored by coding their group dynamics into sound. Specifically, we converted into sound data derived from a tagging program involving a total of 321 tagged animals tracked over a decade, between 20 February 2004 and 30 May 2014, consisting of an observation period of 90,063 h, composed of 1,027,839 individual positions. The data parameters used to provide the sound are position (longitude) and spread (degree of displacement taken for the active group). These data parameters are mapped to the sonic parameters of frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume), respectively. Examination of the resulting sound revealed features of motion that translate into specific patterns in space. The serial departure of elephant seals to initiate their trips into waves is clearly reflected in the addition of tonalities, with coherent swimming of the animals conforming a wave reflected in the modulated fluctuations in volume, suggesting coordinated fluctuations in dispersion of the wave. Smooth changes in volume, coordinated with pitch variability, indicate that the animals spread out as they move further away from the colony, with one or a few animals exploring an ocean area away from that explored by the core wave. The shift in volume and pitch also signals at group coordination in initiating the return home. Coordinated initiation of the return to the colony is also clearly revealed by the sonification, as reflected in an increase in volume and pitch of the notes denoting the movement of each animal in a migration wave. This sonification reveals clear patterns of covariation in movement data, which drivers and triggers, whether intrinsic or environmental, cannot be elucidated here but allow to formulate a number of non-trivial questions on the synchronized nature of group behavior of northern elephant seals foraging across the NE Pacific Ocean.
  • In situ observations of coral bleaching in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea during the 2015/2016 global coral bleaching event

    Monroe, Alison; Ziegler, Maren; Roik, Anna Krystyna; Röthig, Till; Hardenstine, Royale; Emms, Madeleine; Jensen, Thor; Voolstra, Christian R.; Berumen, Michael L. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2018-04-19)
    Coral bleaching continues to be one of the most devastating and immediate impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems worldwide. In 2015, a major bleaching event was declared as the
  • Multi-omics analysis of thermal stress response in a zooxanthellate cnidarian reveals the importance of associating with thermotolerant symbionts

    Cziesielski, Maha J.; Liew, Yi Jin; Cui, Guoxin; Schmidt-Roach, Sebastian; Campana, Sara; Marondedze, Claudius; Aranda, Manuel (The Royal Society, 2018-04-18)
    Corals and their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium have a fragile relationship that breaks down under heat stress, an event known as bleaching. However, many coral species have adapted to high temperature environments such as the Red Sea (RS). To investigate mechanisms underlying temperature adaptation in zooxanthellate cnidarians we compared transcriptome- and proteome-wide heat stress response (24 h at 32°C) of three strains of the model organism Aiptasia pallida from regions with differing temperature profiles; North Carolina (CC7), Hawaii (H2) and the RS. Correlations between transcript and protein levels were generally low but inter-strain comparisons highlighted a common core cnidarian response to heat stress, including protein folding and oxidative stress pathways. RS anemones showed the strongest increase in antioxidant gene expression and exhibited significantly lower reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in hospite However, comparisons of antioxidant gene and protein expression between strains did not show strong differences, indicating similar antioxidant capacity across the strains. Subsequent analysis of ROS production in isolated symbionts confirmed that the observed differences of ROS levels in hospite were symbiont-driven. Our findings indicate that RS anemones do not show increased antioxidant capacity but may have adapted to higher temperatures through association with more thermally tolerant symbionts.
  • Compliant lightweight non-invasive standalone “Marine Skin” tagging system

    Nassar, Joanna M.; Khan, Sherjeel M.; Velling, Seneca J.; Diaz-Gaxiola, Andrea; Shaikh, Sohail F.; Geraldi, Nathan R.; Sevilla, Galo T.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Hussain, Muhammad Mustafa (Springer Nature, 2018-04-16)
    Current marine research primarily depends on weighty and invasive sensory equipment and telemetric network to understand the marine environment, including the diverse fauna it contains, as a function of animal behavior and size, as well as equipment longevity. To match animal morphology and activity within the surrounding marine environment, here we show a physically flexible and stretchable skin-like and waterproof autonomous multifunctional system, integrating Bluetooth, memory chip, and high performance physical sensors. The sensory tag is mounted on a swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) and is capable of continuous logging of depth, temperature, and salinity within the harsh ocean environment. The fully packaged, ultra-lightweight (<2.4 g in water), and compliant “Marine Skin” system does not have any wired connection enabling safe and weightless cutting-edge approach to monitor and assess marine life and the ecosystem’s health to support conservation and management of marine ecosystems.
  • Accumulation of Carbonates Contributes to Coastal Vegetated Ecosystems Keeping Pace With Sea Level Rise in an Arid Region (Arabian Peninsula)

    Saderne, Vincent; Cusack, Michael; Almahasheer, Hanan; Serrano, Oscar; Masqué, Pere; Arias-Ortiz, Ariane; Krishnakumar, Periyadan Kadinjappalli; Rabaoui, Lotfi; Qurban, Mohammad Ali; Duarte, Carlos M. (American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2018-04-12)
    Anthropogenic sea level rise (SLR) presents one of the greatest risks to human lives and infrastructures. Coastal vegetated ecosystems, that is, tidal marshes, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests, elevate the seabed through soil accretion, providing a natural coastline protection against SLR. The soil accretion of these ecosystems has never been assessed in hot desert climate regions, where water runoff is negligible. However, tropical marine ecosystems are areas of intense calcification that may constitute an important source of sediment supporting seabed elevation, compensating for the lack of terrestrial inputs. We estimated the long-term (C-centennial) and short-term (Pb-20th century) soil accretion rates (SARs) and inorganic carbon (C) burial in coastal vegetated ecosystems of the Saudi coasts of the central Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Short-term SARs (±SE) in mangroves of the Red Sea (0.27 ± 0.22 cm/year) were twofold the SLR for that region since 1925 (0.13 cm/year). In the Arabian Gulf, only mangrove forest SAR is equivalent to local SLR estimates for the period 1979-2007 (0.21 ± 0.09 compared to 0.22 ± 0.05 cm/year, respectively). Long-term SARs are comparable or higher than the global estimates of SLR for the late Holocene (0.01 cm/year). In all habitats of the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, SARs are supported by high carbonate accretion rates, comprising 40% to 60% of the soil volume. Further studies on the role of carbonates in coastal vegetated ecosystems are required to understand their role in adaptation to SLR.
  • A new species of Arachnanthus from the Red Sea (Cnidaria, Ceriantharia)

    Stampar, Sérgio N.; El Didi, Suraia O.; Paulay, Gustav; Berumen, Michael L. (Pensoft Publishers, 2018-04-04)
    A new species of the genus Arachnanthus (Cnidaria: Ceriantharia), Arachnanthus lilith Stampar & El Didi, sp. n., is described. This species is widely distributed in the Red Sea, and recorded from 2–30 m depths. Arachnanthus lilith Stampar & El Didi, sp. n. is the fifth species of the genus and the first recorded from the Red Sea. The number of labial tentacle pseudocycles, arrangement of mesenteries, and distribution of acontioids allow the differentiation of the new species from other species of the genus.

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