Marine Ecology Progress Series
ISSN / EISSN : 0171-8630 / 1616-1599
Published by: Inter-Research Science Center (10.3354)
Total articles ≅ 16,775
Latest articles in this journal
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 676, pp 97-116; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13801
Many seabird species undergo extensive seasonal migrations, often across large marine ecosystems or between marine areas under different national jurisdictions. With the advances of electronic tracking, especially of the application of Global Location Sensors (GLS or geolocators), it is now possible to study the seasonal movements of seabirds and link breeding populations to non-breeding habitats. To take full advantage of this development for better management and conservation, and to broaden the scope of scientific questions that can be assessed, there is a need for large-scale and multi-species programmes. The SEATRACK project with partners from 10 countries is ongoing and aims to identify the year-round distribution and movements of seabirds breeding in colonies across the northern part of the North Atlantic. By 2020, 14534 loggers were deployed on 11 species, and data from 5440 retrieved loggers have been analyzed and compiled. This Theme Section assembles original research articles based on data collected as part of the SEATRACK project from 2014 to 2019. A series of 11 papers advances the knowledge within 4 research themes: (1) variation in migration strategies among individuals, populations and species; (2) linking migration strategies and winter distribution to seabird demography and population dynamics; (3) linking migration and winter distribution to contaminants in seabirds and (4) the use of GLS data in marine spatial planning. We review existing literature within SEATRACK’s 4 themes with a focus on the temperate and arctic zones of the North Atlantic to provide a framework within which to discuss the 11 contributions and provide recommendations for future research.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13840_c
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 67-79; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13835
Idioteuthis cordiformis is the largest deepwater mastigoteuthid squid in the southern Pacific Ocean. Signature fatty acid (FA) and lipid class analysis was carried out on the digestive gland, fins and caecum oil of 18 individuals of I. cordiformis caught in the waters off southern Australia during late 2004. Lipid classes varied between the tissues and oil samples, with sex not being an important factor. The presence of hydrocarbons within the digestive gland and caecum was noteworthy, as high proportions of this lipid class are generally only common in the livers of many deepwater sharks. Monounsaturated FAs dominated the digestive gland and caecum oil, while the fin had high values of both saturated and polyunsaturated FAs. FA profiles of I. cordiformis were compared to profiles of potential prey species (sharks, small and large fish, crustaceans and squid) using Bray-Curtis similarity coefficients. Analysis of the digestive gland and caecum oil FA profiles revealed a close match with the following prey: myctophids (Lampanyctodes australis, Electrona paucirastra, Symbolophorus barnardi), the dragon fish Stomias boa, the smooth oreo Pseudocyttus maculatus and the deepwater sharks Etmopterus baxter, Dalatias licha, Centroselachus crepidater, Centroscymnus coelopsis and Centrophorus zeehaani. The fin FA profile did not match closely to any potential prey and was most similar to other squid mantle tissue. Based on the results of this study, I. cordiformis has a broad diet spectrum of teleost fish and deepwater sharks and occupies a high trophic position.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 23-33; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13846
Microplastic particles (<5 mm) are ubiquitous throughout global marine ecosystems, including the deep sea. Ingestion of microplastics and other anthropogenic microparticles is reported in diverse marine taxa across trophic levels. Trophic transfer, or the movement of microplastics across trophic levels, is reported in laboratory studies but not yet widely measured in marine food webs. The Monterey Bay submarine canyon ecosystem contains a well-studied, known deep-sea food web in which to examine the trophic fate of microplastics. We measured microplastic abundance across 17 genera spanning approximately 5 trophic levels and a diversity of feeding behaviors. Samples were collected using remotely operated vehicles and oblique midwater trawls, and gut contents of all individuals examined (n = 157) were analyzed for microplastic abundance and other anthropogenic particles greater than 100 µm using stereo microscopy. Microparticles were analyzed with Raman spectroscopy to confirm material type. Anthropogenic particles were found in all genera examined, across crustacean, fish, mollusk, and gelatinous organisms, in amounts ranging from 0 to 24 particles per individual. There was no significant relationship between microplastic amount and fish trophic level, suggesting that the trophic transfer of microparticles is not occurring. Body size was positively correlated with microplastic abundance across all taxa. The fish genus Scomber sp. drove this relationship, suggesting higher microparticle abundance in mobile individuals with broad horizontal distributions. Future work should examine physiological pathways for microplastic transport within organisms (e.g. excretion, accumulation on gills, internal translocation of particles) and between organisms within shared habitats to more fully understand the fate of microplastics within aquatic food webs.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 53-66; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13843
Salt marshes are increasingly valued for their role in coastal defense. In particular, marsh plants slow the progression of waves, thereby decreasing wave heights, orbital velocities and associated energy. Practical application of these effects has driven substantial research estimating the effects of plants on waves. However, the effects of waves on plants remain understudied, especially regarding plant responses along a wave climate gradient. To begin to understand these responses, we collected above- and belowground plant data and wave data from 60 sites across Mobile Bay, USA, and tributaries and evaluated plant responses along the range of assessed wave climate conditions. Plant responses among the dominant species, Juncus roemerianus and Spartina alterniflora, varied along the wave climate gradient. However, the basal diameter of shoots in both species declined linearly with increasing wave climate. While wave climate had no observable effect on other S. alterniflora parameters, the declining diameter of J. roemerianus shoots along the same gradient was commensurate with a decline in the percentage of live canopy shoots aboveground and an increase in root and rhizome biomass in the active rooting zone belowground. In contrast to previous studies, other responses including the height, biomass and density of aboveground shoots in both species were not related to wave climate. More broadly, these results demonstrate that plant features important for wave attenuation such as shoot diameter can change in response to varying wave conditions. These feedbacks should be incorporated to improve coastal modeling and successes of coastal conservation, restoration and enhancement projects.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 81-96; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13842
The theory of island biogeography (TIB) predicts that species richness in isolated areas is determined by the processes of colonization and extinction, and, in turn, governed by island size and isolation. Metacommunity models extend the TIB, predicting that both habitat and species interactions are important drivers of community vital rates and structure, and that marine metacommunities will exhibit higher extinction/colonization rates relative to terrestrial ecosystems. Here we demonstrate that oceanic banks can be considered islands, and document how application of these theories advanced our understanding of the dynamics of these submarine islands following the fishery-induced collapse of predatory groundfish populations. We employed a 48 yr dataset of fish communities on 10 offshore banks of the Scotian Shelf, Northwest Atlantic Ocean to examine colonization and extinction rates before and after the collapse. Bank-specific colonization, extinction and turnover rates were quantified using the island R package to correct for imperfect detectability, inherent to all sampling of natural systems. Colonization and extinction events were briefly unbalanced following the predator collapse, and reflected in increases in species richness and turnover, most notably on the largest banks. However, over the longer term, a dynamic equilibrium of colonization and extinction events prevailed on 8 of the 10 banks. This resulted in a generally time-invariant species richness, and a negative relationship between species turnover and bank area, as predicted by theory. Our study provides support for the relevance of island biogeography and metacommunity theories in guiding exploration and understanding of the mechanisms governing marine community vital rates and structure.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 181-197; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13834
Sea-ice declines in the European Arctic have led to substantial changes in marine food webs. To better understand the biological implications of these changes, we quantified the contributions of ice-associated and pelagic carbon sources to the diets of Arctic harp and ringed seals using compound-specific stable isotope ratios of fatty acids in specific primary producer biomarkers derived from sea-ice algae and phytoplankton. Comparison of fatty acid patterns between these 2 seal species indicated clear dietary separation, while the compound-specific stable isotope ratios of the same fatty acids showed partial overlap. These findings suggest that harp and ringed seals target different prey sources, yet their prey rely on ice and pelagic primary production in similar ways. From Bayesian stable isotope mixing models, we estimated that relative contributions of sympagic and pelagic carbon in seal blubber was an average of 69% and 31% for harp seals, and 72% and 28% for ringed seals, respectively. The similarity in the Bayesian estimations also indicates overlapping carbon sourcing by these 2 species. Our findings demonstrate that the seasonal ice-associated carbon pathway contributes substantially to the diets of both harp and ringed seals.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 35-52; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13840
Biological trait analysis has become a popular tool to infer the vulnerability of benthic species to trawling-induced disturbance. Approaches using multiple traits are being developed, but their generic relevance across faunal components and geographic locations remains poorly tested, and the importance of confounding effects are poorly recognised. This study integrates biological traits of benthic species that are responsive to instantaneous effects of trawling (i.e. sensitivity) and traits expressing recoverability over the longer term (i.e. years). We highlight the functional independence between these 2 components in response to trawling, test the behaviours of single and combined traits and account for potential confounding effects of environment and trawling intensity on benthic communities through variation partitioning. Two case studies are considered: epibenthos from the Bay of Biscay and endobenthos of the Dutch sector of the North Sea. The response to trawling is most pronounced when multiple traits covering different aspects that determine population dynamics (i.e. sensitivity and recoverability) are combined, despite confounding effects between gradients of benthic production and trawling intensity, especially for endobenthos. The integration of traits reflecting both sensitivity and recoverability provides complementary information on the faunal response to trawling, bridging the gap between fishing impact assessments and benthic community status assessments.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 97-112; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13833
Little is known about microhabitat use by Caribbean parrotfishes soon after settlement from the plankton. We monitored the abundance and distribution of recently settled Sparisoma spp. (likely mostly S. viride with some S. aurofrenatum) on 6 × 6 m quadrats (n = 9) on the fringing reef front in Barbados (West Indies) every 15 d for 6 mo. Each quadrat was divided into 1 m2 cells to examine associations between substrate composition and recruit (<1.3 cm standard length, SL) and small juvenile (1.3-3 cm SL) abundance. Recruits and small juveniles tended to use some cells more than others, and their distribution partially overlapped. Both were associated with long turf algae on dead coral. However, small juveniles were also associated with crustose coralline algae and substrate elevation, suggesting a partial ontogenetic change in microhabitat use. Microhabitat associations were similar to those of co-occurring algal-gardening longfin damselfish Stegastes diencaeus and threespot damselfish S. planifrons. Whereas Sparisoma recruits overlapped with longfins and to a lesser extent with threespots, small juveniles overlapped only with threespots. Some of the microhabitat associations with recruits and small juveniles at the cell scale were also found across quadrats. We suggest that the reef front is an important habitat for recently settled Sparisoma in Barbados, where they rely on being cryptic and solitary within turf algae gardens defended by damselfishes to minimize predation. After some growth, they perform a microhabitat shift, perhaps due to increased damselfish aggression. Thus, the early post-settlement dynamics of Caribbean Sparisoma might be strongly influenced by substrate modification by algal-gardening damselfishes.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 675, pp 1-21; https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13884
Large-scale analysis along latitude or temperature gradients can be an effective method for exploring the potential roles of light and temperature in controlling seagrass phenology. In this study, we investigated effects of latitude and temperature on seagrass biomass and reproductive seasonality. Zostera japonica is an intertidal seagrass with a wide latitudinal distribution expanding from tropical to temperate zones in its native range in Asia, with an additional non-native distribution in North America. We collated available data on phenological traits (timings of peak biomass or reproduction, durations of biomass growth and reproductive season, and maximum biomass or reproductive ratio) from publications and our own observations. Traits were compared among geographic groups: Asia-tropical, Asia-temperate, and North America-temperate. We further examined relationships between traits and latitude and temperature for 3 population groups: Asian, North American, and all populations. Our analysis revealed significant variation among geographic groups in maximum biomass, peak reproductive timing, and maximum reproductive ratio, but not in other traits. Maximum biomass and peak reproductive timing for Asian and all populations were significantly correlated with latitude and temperature. Maximum biomass was highest at mid-latitudes or intermediate temperatures and decreased toward distribution range limits, and peak reproductive timing occurred later in the year at higher latitudes or cooler sites. North American populations showed shorter growth durations and greater reproductive ratios at higher latitude. Different responses observed for North American populations may reflect effects of introduction. Our study demonstrates potential variation among geographic regions and between native and non-native populations.