Herbivorous amphipods inhabit protective microhabitats within thalli of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera.
Gutow, L., Long, J., Cerda, O., Hinojosa, I., Rothäusler, E., Tala, F., & Thiel, M.
Many small marine herbivores utilize specific algal hosts, but the ultimate factors that shape host selection are not well understood. For example, the use of particular microhabitats within algal hosts and the functional role of these microhabitats have received little attention, especially in large algae such as kelps. We studied microhabitat use of the herbivorous amphipod Peramphithoe femorata that inhabits nest-like domiciles on the blades of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. The vertical position of nest-bearing blades along the stipe of the algal thallus and the position of the nests within the lateral blades of M. pyrifera were surveyed in two kelp forests in northern-central Chile. Additionally, we conducted laboratory and field experiments to unravel the mechanisms driving the observed distributions. Peramphithoe femorata nests were predominantly built on the distal blade tips in apical sections of the stipes. Within-blade and within-stipe feeding preferences of P. femorata did not explain the amphipod distribution. Amphipods did not consistently select distal over proximal blade sections in habitat choice experiments. Mortality of tethered amphipods without nests was higher at the seafloor than at the sea surface in the field. Nests mitigated mortality of tethered amphipods, especially at the seafloor. Thus, protective microhabitats within thalli of large kelp species can substantially enhance survival of small marine herbivores. Our results suggest that differential survival from predation might be more important than food preferences in determining the microhabitat distribution of these herbivores.
Annual brood number and breeding periodicity of squat lobsters (Decapoda: Anomura: Galatheidae) from the continental shelf of the SE Pacific—Implications for fisheries management.
Thiel, M., Espinoza-Fuenzalida, N., Acuña, E., & Rivadeneira, M.
The reproductive potential of a population depends on the number of broods that individuals produce during the annual reproductive season. Determining the annual brood number is especially relevant for species that are actively fished. Herein we combined different approaches to estimate the annual brood number of two commercially exploited species of squat lobsters from the Chilean continental shelf and upper slope, Cervimunida johni and Pleuroncodes monodon. Long-term maintenance in the laboratory revealed that most females (>70%) produced 3 or more broods during the annual reproductive season. Incubation of individual broods required about 40 days, which would allow for 3 subsequent broods during the main reproductive period (June–September). The dynamics of brood release of ovigerous females that were collected from the field at approximately monthly intervals supported the estimate of 3–4 annual broods for adult females. Furthermore, these latter data also indicated a high degree of breeding synchrony among reproductive females. It is suggested that the production of successive broods might be an adaption to the variable oceanographic conditions during the reproductive period, ensuring that at least one larval cohort finds favorable conditions for development and settlement. Based on these results it is recommended that fishing effort is reduced during the main reproductive period of the two squat lobsters.
Palabras claves: Squat lobsters; Trawl fishery; Fisheries management; Reproduction; Annual brood number; Mating synchrony
Latin American plant sciences: from early naturalists to modern science.
Stoll, A. & Squeo, F.
Male morphotypes in the Andean river shrimp Cryphiops caementarius (Decapoda: Caridea): morphology, coloration and injuries.
Rojas, R., Morales, M., Rivadeneira, M., & Thiel, M.
In many species, different male morphotypes usually employ different tactics to access resources. Males with highly developed weapons are expected to fight and possibly incur higher levels of injury than males with less developed weapons, which usually avoid agonistic encounters. Discrete male morphotypes, where some males are very large and feature powerful chelae, have been reported for several large shrimp species, where males show a lobster-like monopolization of resources. During competitive interactions, these large males fight more vigorously than small males and, consequently, it is expected that they accumulate more injuries. Herein, we identified different morphotypes in the river shrimp Cryphiops caementarius, and we compared the percentage of body damage between large and small shrimps. We measured 26 morphometric data and 6 intensities of color on the chelipeds. Multivariate analysis based on a combination of morphometric and color data confirmed that there are two morphotypes. The ‘dominant’ morph is characterized by stout teeth on the cutting edges and by dark blue color on the external surface of the major cheliped. The two morphotypes can be distinguished based on the differences in the allometric relationships between several morphologic traits and carapace length. Males from the large morphotype had a higher percentage of injuries on their chelipeds than other males. These results suggest that males from the large morphotype are dominant and compete aggressively for access to resources, a hypothesis to be tested in future, behavioral studies.
Palabras claves: alternative reproductive tactics; male morphotypes; injury; weapon; large chela; shrimp
Effects of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella on histopathogical and escape responses of the Northern scallop Argopecten purpuratus.
Hégaret, H., Brokordt, K., Gaymer, C., Lohrmann, K., García, C., & Varela, D.
Juvenile Northern scallops Argopecten purpuratus were exposed to cultures of the paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) producing dinoflagellate, Alexandrium catenella, or a non-toxic microalga as a control, T-iso. After 3 and 6 days of exposure to either A. catenella or T-iso, scallops were stimulated to elicit an escape response by exposing them to the predatory sea star Meyenaster gelatinosus. We monitored the escape response of the scallops in terms of reaction time after first contact with the sea star, number of claps (burst of rapid valve closures) until exhaustion, clapping time, clapping rate, the time scallops spent closed when exhausted, and recovery from the initial number of claps, clapping time and clapping rate. Additionally, histopathological and stress responses (through heat-shock protein [hsp70] induction), as well as accumulation of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins, were monitored on scallops after 3 and 6 days of exposure to A. catenella. After 6 days of exposure, scallops exposed to A. catenella accumulated PSTs and reacted more rapidly with a higher clapping rate, however the duration of their escape response was shorter than controls, when exposed to M. gelatinosus. Additionally, scallops exposed to A. catenella showed histopathological features, especially after 6 days of exposure, including increased melanization of the tissues and myopathy, with high levels of degeneration of the muscle fibers. A six-day exposure to A. catenella also caused an increase in prevalence of rickettsiales-like organisms within scallop tissues. This study suggests that PST accumulation can affect the interaction between the Northern scallop and both pathogens and predators, potentially increasing their susceptibility to either of them.
Palabras claves: Scallop; Alexandrium; HAB; Escape response; Histopathology; PSP
Determinants of the diversity of plants, birds and mammals of coastal islands of the Humboldt current systems: implications for conservation.
Luna-Jorquera, G., Fernández, C., & Rivadeneira, M.
Sound conservation plans for islands require understanding the processes underlying to the patterns of species richness and composition. Larger islands are often the targets of conservation assuming that the island area mainly determines species richness, and that species composition is nested across islands. However, in small-island these patterns could be altered because of stochastic processes, and species assemblages could be disharmonious. In addition, human impact could further modify the distribution pattern and diversity. Here we use the case of seven islands from the coastal system of Coquimbo as a model to address the role of environmental variables and human impacts on species richness and assembly rules of plants, birds, and mammals. We hypothesize (a) the existence of a small-island effect, and the prevalence of habitat diversity and anthropogenic impacts as main drivers of species richness, and (b) the existence of disharmonious assemblages, characterized by a low degree of nestedness and random patterns of species co-occurrence. Our results showed that (a) species richness is mainly correlated with habitat diversity, and only weakly related to island area supporting the ‘small-island effect’ and (b) species composition is highly structured, but that such structure may be the result of anthropogenic activities. Nestedness was observed in plants and landbirds, while co-occurrence patterns were only detected in plants. Assemblages in small-islands departed from the nestedness pattern and maintain rare species. Currently, only three of the seven islands are protected by national regulations, excluding the smaller ones that are subjected to human disturbance and invasive mammals. Our study suggests that it necessary to include all the islands in a major protected area to preserve both richness and species composition of a number of representative islands of the Humboldt current systems. We showed that conservation plans solely based on island area might not be robust.
Palabras claves: Humboldt, current, Conservation, Small-island effect, Island biogeography.
Occurrence of the Non-Native Annual Bluegrass on the Antarctic Mainland and Its Negative Effects on Native Plants.
Molina-Montenegro, M., Carrasco-Urra, F., Rodrigo, C., Convey, P., Valladares, F., & Gianoli, E.
Few non-native species have colonized Antarctica, although increased human activity and accelerated climate change may increase their number, distributional range, and effects on native species on the continent. We searched 13 sites on the maritime Antarctic islands and 12 sites on the Antarctic Peninsula for annual bluegrass (Poa annua), a non-native flowering plant. We also evaluated the possible effects of competition between P. annua and 2 vascular plants native to Antarctica, Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis) and Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica). We grew the native species in experimental plots with and without annual bluegrass under conditions that mimicked the Antarctic environment. After 5 months, we measured photosynthetic performance on the basis of chlorophyll fluorescence and determined total biomass of both native species. We found individual specimens of annual bluegrass at 3 different sites on the Antarctic Peninsula during the 2007–2008 and 2009–2010 austral summers. The presence of bluegrass was associated with a statistically significant reduction in biomass of pearlwort and hairgrass, whereas the decrease in biomass of bluegrass was not statistically significant. Similarly, the presence of bluegrass significantly reduced the photosynthetic performance of the 2 native species. Sites where bluegrass occurred were close to major maritime routes of scientific expeditions and of tourist cruises to Antarctica. We believe that if current levels of human activity and regional warming persist, more non-native plant species are likely to colonize the Antarctic and may affect native species.
Palabras claves: Colobanthus quitensis;Deschampsia antarctica;hairgrass;non-native species;pearlwort;species competition;tourism;Poa annuaColobanthus quitensis;competencia de especies;Deschampsia antarctica;especie no nativa;Poa annua;turismo
Postglacial vegetation, fire and climate dynamics at Central Chilean Patagonia (Lake Shaman, 44°S).
de Porras, M., Maldonado, A., Abarzúa, A., Cárdenas, M., Francois, J., & Martel-Cea, A. et al.
A 19 cal ka BP pollen and charcoal record from Lake Shaman (44°S; 71°W, Chile) was analyzed to establish vegetation, fire and climate dynamics of the forest-steppe ecotone in Central Chilean Patagonia. Lake Shaman record indicates that the upper Río Cisnes valley was free of ice at around 19 cal ka BP. From this date and until 14.8 cal ka BP, a grass steppe with high proportions of shrubs associated to colder and drier conditions than present developed in this area. A continuous increase of Nothofagus accompanied by a decline in the steppe shrubs and sudden dominance of paludal over aquatic plants from 11 cal ka BP was associated to effective moisture increase but still under modern values. The replacement of the cold-dry grass-shrub steppe by a similar-than-present forest-steppe ecotone suggests an increase in temperature indicating the onset of the Holocene. At the same time, moderate fire activity suggested by the charcoal record could be related to major fuel availability as consequence of Nothofagus forest expansion. Between 8 and 3 cal ka BP, the record indicates the easternmost position of the forest-steppe ecotone suggesting the highest effective moisture with the establishment of seasonality between 5 and 3 cal ka BP. From 3 cal ka BP, the record indicates a retraction of the forest-steppe ecotone accompanied by a high pollen record variability and an increased fire activity. These late changes suggest decreased effective moisture associated with a high climatic variability. At regional and extra-regional scale, climatic changes at Lake Shaman's record are mostly associated to changes (latitudinal shifts and/or strengthening/weakening) of past Southern Westerlies that were previously recorded along Patagonia from the Lateglacial to the mid-Holocene. During the Late Holocene, a regional pattern characterized by high record variability emerges throughout Central Chilean Patagonia. This variability would be related to (1) low magnitude Southern Westerlies changes probably associated to ENSO and/or SAM or (2) the complex relationships between vegetation, fire and human occupations during the last 3 cal ka.
Palabras claves: Forest-steppe ecotone; Central Chilean Patagonia; Southern Westerlies; Lateglacial
Floating Seaweeds and Their Communities.
Rothäusler, E., Gutow, L., & Thiel, M.
A wide diversity of floating seaweeds is found in temperate and subpolar regions of the world’s oceans where sea surface currents and winds determine their traveling velocities and directions. The importance of floating seaweeds as dispersal agents for associated organisms and for the algae themselves varies depending on the supply from benthic source populations and on their persistence at the sea surface. Persistence of floating algae depends on water temperature, grazing activity, epifaunal load, and, to a lesser extent, on prevailing irradiance conditions. In temperate regions, persistence of floating algae is primarily limited by warm sea surface temperatures and high densities of motile and sessile epifauna whereas at higher latitudes algae can successfully compensate grazer-induced tissue loss by continuous growth at the prevailing low water temperatures. Accordingly, floating seaweeds can bridge large oceanic distances especially at high latitudes allowing for connectivity among distant benthic populations of algae and associated rafters.
The trade-off between cold resistance and growth determines the Nothofagus pumilio treeline.
Molina-Montenegro, M., Gallardo-Cerda, J., Flores, T., & Atala, C.
The upper and poleward limit of tree distribution are usually determined by abiotic factors such as low temperature and strong winds. Thus, cold resistance is a key element for survival in high altitudes and latitudes where conditions can reduce plant growth. A trade-off between resource allocation to cold resistance and growth could emerge in populations frequently exposed to low temperatures like those in the treeline zone. We studied annual height growth and ice nucleation temperature in Nothofagus pumilio (Nothofagaceae) populations growing in its extremes of altitudinal distribution and in 3 sites situated on a latitudinal gradient in the Chilean Andes. Additionally, gas exchange, water and nitrogen use efficiency and total soluble sugar (TSS) were also measured as possible mechanisms for survival in high altitudes. Individuals from the treeline populations showed lower annual height growth and lower ice nucleation temperatures compared with those from lower populations. In the same way, individuals from more poleward populations showed lower annual height growth and lower ice nucleation temperatures. Gas exchange, water and nitrogen use efficiency and TSS were also higher in the high altitude populations. The results obtained support the hypothesis of trade-off, because the upper and poleward populations showed more cold resistance but a lower height growth. Additionally, we show that cold resistance mechanisms do not impact the physiological performance, suggesting possible adaptation of the high altitude populations. Low temperatures may be affecting cellular growth instead of photosynthesis, creating a pool of carbohydrates that could participate in cold tolerance. Other abiotic and biotic factors should be also assessed to fully understand the distributional range of Nothofagus species.
Palabras claves: Height growth, Los Andes, Photosynthesis, Treeline, Environmental gradients, Ice nucleation.