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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. (Fisheries Research, Elsevier BV, 2018-06-01) [Article]
    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.
  • Bacterial polyextremotolerant bioemulsifiers from arid soils improve water retention capacity and humidity uptake in sandy soil

    Raddadi, Noura; Giacomucci, Lucia; Marasco, Ramona; Daffonchio, Daniele; Cherif, Ameur; Fava, Fabio (Microbial Cell Factories, Springer Nature, 2018-05-31) [Article]
    Water stress is a critical issue for plant growth in arid sandy soils. Here, we aimed to select bacteria producing polyextremotolerant surface-active compounds capable of improving water retention and humidity uptake in sandy soils.From Tunisian desert and saline systems, we selected eleven isolates able to highly emulsify different organic solvents. The bioemulsifying activities were stable with 30% NaCl, at 4 and 120 °C and in a pH range 4-12. Applications to a sandy soil of the partially purified surface-active compounds improved soil water retention up to 314.3% compared to untreated soil. Similarly, after 36 h of incubation, the humidity uptake rate of treated sandy soil was up to 607.7% higher than untreated controls.Overall, results revealed that polyextremotolerant bioemulsifiers of bacteria from arid and desert soils represent potential sources to develop new natural soil-wetting agents for improving water retention in arid soils.
  • The Arabidopsis homolog of human G3BP1 is a key regulator of stomatal and apoplastic immunity

    Abulfaraj, Aala A.; Mariappan, Kiruthiga; Bigeard, Jean; Manickam, Prabhu; Blilou, Ikram; Guo, Xiujie; Al-Babili, Salim; Pflieger, Delphine; Hirt, Heribert; Rayapuram, Naganand (Life Science Alliance, Life Science Alliance, LLC, 2018-05-31) [Article]
    Mammalian Ras-GTPase–activating protein SH3-domain–binding proteins (G3BPs) are a highly conserved family of RNA-binding proteins that link kinase receptor-mediated signaling to RNA metabolism. Mammalian G3BP1 is a multifunctional protein that functions in viral immunity. Here, we show that the Arabidopsis thaliana homolog of human G3BP1 negatively regulates plant immunity. Arabidopsis g3bp1 mutants showed enhanced resistance to the virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Pathogen resistance was mediated in Atg3bp1 mutants by altered stomatal and apoplastic immunity. Atg3bp1 mutants restricted pathogen entry into stomates showing insensitivity to bacterial coronatine–mediated stomatal reopening. AtG3BP1 was identified as a negative regulator of defense responses, which correlated with moderate up-regulation of salicylic acid biosynthesis and signaling without growth penalty.
  • 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 (Integrative Zoology, Wiley, 2018-05-31) [Article]
    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, PeerJ, 2018-05-23) [Article]
    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.
  • Root bacterial endophytes confer drought resistance and enhance expression and activity of a vacuolar H+ -pumping pyrophosphatase in pepper plants

    Vigani, Gianpiero; Rolli, Eleonora; Marasco, Ramona; Dell'Orto, Marta; Michoud, Gregoire; Soussi, Asma; Raddadi, Noura; Borin, Sara; Sorlini, Claudia; Zocchi, Graziano; Daffonchio, Daniele (Environmental Microbiology, Wiley, 2018-05-22) [Article]
    It has been previously shown that the transgenic overexpression of the plant root vacuolar proton pumps H+ -ATPase (V-ATPase) and H+ -PPase (V-PPase) confer tolerance to drought. Since plant-root endophytic bacteria can also promote drought tolerance, we hypothesize that such promotion can be associated to the enhancement of the host vacuolar proton pumps expression and activity. To test this hypothesis, we selected two endophytic bacteria endowed with an array of in vitro plant growth promoting traits. Their genome sequences confirmed the presence of traits previously shown to confer drought resistance to plants, such as the synthesis of nitric oxide and of organic volatile organic compounds. We used the two strains on pepper (Capsicuum annuum L.) because of its high sensitivity to drought. Under drought conditions, both strains stimulated a larger root system and enhanced the leaves' photosynthetic activity. By testing the expression and activity of the vacuolar proton pumps, H+ -ATPase (V-ATPase) and H+ -PPase (V-PPase), we found that bacterial colonization enhanced V-PPase only. We conclude that the enhanced expression and activity of V-PPase can be favoured by the colonization of drought-tolerance-inducing bacterial endophytes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • 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 (Scientific Reports, Springer Nature, 2018-05-18) [Article]
    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.
  • Microbial ecology of deep-sea hypersaline anoxic basins

    Merlino, Giuseppe; Barozzi, Alan; Michoud, Gregoire; Ngugi, David; Daffonchio, Daniele (FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-05-09) [Article]
    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.
  • 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 (Genome Announcements, American Society for Microbiology, 2018-05-09) [Article]
    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.
  • 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 (Geocarto International, Informa UK Limited, 2018-05-07) [Article]
    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. (Marine Pollution Bulletin, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-05) [Article]
    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.
  • 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 (Journal of Biogeography, Wiley, 2018-04-27) [Article]
    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.
  • Patterns of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity and assemblages among diverse hosts and the coral reef environment of Lizard Island, Australia

    Ziegler, Maren; Stone, Elizabeth; Colman, Daniel; Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina; Shepherd, Ursula (Journal of Phycology, Wiley, 2018-04-26) [Article]
    Large-scale environmental disturbances may impact both partners in coral host-Symbiodinium systems. Elucidation of the assembly patterns in such complex and interdependent communities may enable better prediction of environmental impacts across coral reef ecosystems. In this study, we investigated how the community composition and diversity of dinoflagellate symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium were distributed among 12 host species from six taxonomic orders (Actinaria, Alcyonacea, Miliolida, Porifera, Rhizostoma, Scleractinia) and in the reef water and sediments at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef before the 3rd Global Coral Bleaching Event. 454 pyrosequencing of the ITS2 region of Symbiodinium yielded 83 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) at a 97% similarity cut-off. Approximately half of the Symbiodinium OTUs from reef water or sediments were also present in symbio. OTUs belonged to six clades (A-D, F-G), but community structure was uneven. The two most abundant OTUs (100% matches to types C1 and A3) comprised 91% of reads and OTU C1 was shared by all species. However, sequence-based analysis of these dominant OTUs revealed host species-specificity, suggesting that genetic similarity cut-offs of Symbiodinium ITS2 data sets need careful evaluation. Of the less abundant OTUs, roughly half occurred at only one site or in one species and the background Symbiodinium communities were distinct between individual samples. We conclude that sampling multiple host taxa with differing life history traits will be critical to fully understand the symbiont diversity of a given system and to predict coral ecosystem responses to environmental change and disturbance considering the differential stress response of the taxa within. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • PAHs sensitivity of picophytoplankton populations in the Red Sea

    Kottuparambil, Sreejith; Agusti, Susana (Environmental Pollution, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-25) [Article]
    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.
  • Climatology of sea breezes along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia

    Khan, Basit; Abualnaja, Yasser; Al-Subhi, Abdullah M.; Nellayaputhenpeedika, Mohammedali; Nellikkattu Thody, Manoj; Sturman, Andrew P. (International Journal of Climatology, Wiley, 2018-04-25) [Article]
    Long-term near-surface observations from five coastal stations, high-resolution model data from Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and high-resolution daily sea surface temperature (SST) from National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are used to investigate the climatology of sea breezes over the eastern side of the Red Sea region. Results show existence of separate sea breeze systems along different segments of the Red Sea coastline. Based on the physical character and synoptic influences, sea breezes in the Red Sea are broadly divided into three regions: the north and the middle Red Sea (NMRS), the Red Sea convergence zone (RSCZ) and the southern Red Sea (SRS) regions. On average, sea breezes developed on 67% of days of the 10-year study period. Although sea breezes occur almost all year, this mesoscale phenomenon is most frequent from May to October (78% of the total sea breeze days). The sea breeze frequency increases from north to south (equatorwards), and sea breeze characteristics appear to vary both temporally and spatially. In addition to land-sea thermal differential, coastline shape, latitude and topography, the prevailing northwesterly at NMRS region, the convergence of northwesterly and southeasterly wind system at RSCZ region and the northeast and southwest monsoon at SRS region play an important role in defining the sea breeze characteristics over the Red Sea.
  • Fine-Scale Biogeographical Boundary Delineation and Sub-population Resolution in the Symbiodinium thermophilum Coral Symbiont Group From the Persian/Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

    Hume, Benjamin C. C.; D'Angelo, Cecilia; Burt, John A.; Wiedenmann, Jörg (Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media SA, 2018-04-24) [Article]
    The adaptation of tropical coral communities to the world's hottest sea, the Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG), has recently been associated with ecological selection acting on a group of coral-associated algal symbionts, the Symbiodinium thermophilum group. Previous studies have shown that considerable genetic diversity exists within the group and that group members found within the PAG are significantly differentiated from those found externally, in the Gulf of Oman and wider waters. However, little is known about this genetic diversity. As an initial step towards understanding whether this diversity could represent niche adapted, selectable populations within the S. thermophilum group that may act as natural sources of stress tolerant associations to Indo-Pacific reefs, we investigate whether the diversity is structured between populations and where the location of the internal-external genetic partition lies. We use regions of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) and chloroplastic psbA gene (non-coding region) from >100 S. thermophilum group-harbouring Porites spp. (P. lobata, P. lutea, and P. harrisoni) sampled across steep temperature and salinity gradients to conduct analyses of variance and create maximum parsimony networks to assess genetic structure and (dis)similarity within and between populations of S. thermophilum found within the PAG and externally in the Gulf of Oman. Our analyses resolve a sharp genetic boundary between Symbiodinium populations in the western Strait of Hormuz and identify significant genetic structure between populations with as little as 20 km between them demonstrating that differentiation between populations is likely due to factors other than limited connectivity. Further, we hypothesize that genotypes identified outside of the PAG in the Gulf of Oman existing in near-oceanic salinities, yet thermally challenging waters, putatively represent candidates for stress-tolerant symbionts that could act as natural seed populations of stress tolerant genotypes to the wider indo-Pacific.
  • 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. (Marine Pollution Bulletin, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-24) [Article]
    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 in Marine Science, Frontiers Media SA, 2018-04-20) [Article]
    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. (PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2018-04-19) [Article]
    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 (Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, The Royal Society, 2018-04-18) [Article]
    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.

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