Heritability, genetic correlations and genotype-environment interactions for growth and survival of larvae and post-larvae of the Caribbean scallop, Argopecten nucleus (Mollusca: Bivalvia)
Barros, J., Winkler, F., & Velasco, L.
The Caribbean scallop Argopecten nucleus is a species with a great potential for commercial aquaculture in the Caribbean given its fast growth and the availability of culture technology. However, its production relies completely on hatchery-reared seed, and the survival in early stages, particularly during the settling process, is the main limitation for this activity to become cost effective. Thus, in order to assess the feasibility of improving survival of larvae and post-larvae of A. nucleus through genetic selection without affecting growth, it was estimated the heritability and the genotype-environment interactions for such traits, as well as the genetic correlations between them. These parameters were estimated based on intraclass correlations of 40 full-sib families (10 half-sib families) at 1, 11 and 75 days post fertilization. Heritability values were very high for the post-larvae survival (0.49), while it was low and not significant for larvae survival (≤0.07) and medium to high for growth traits of larvae and post-larvae (>0.3). The traits analyzed in post-larvae exhibited significant genotype-environment interactions in relation to culture depth in the sea. No significant genetic correlations between the measured traits were found. The results suggest the existence of an important genetic component in the variation of post-larval survival, and larval and post-larval growth, as well as a high potential response to direct genetic selection, especially for post-larval survival (50% increase per generation), without affecting the growth traits.
Palabras claves: Shell length, Shell height, Post-larvae recovery, Genetic improvement, Selective breeding, Genetic gain, Pectinid
Landscape connectivity among remnant populations of guanaco (Lama guanicoe Müller, 1776) in an arid region of Chile impacted by global change
Espinosa, M., Gouin, N., Squeo, F., López, D., & Bertin, A.
Connectivity between populations plays a key role in the long-term persistence of species in fragmented habitats. This is of particular concern for biodiversity preservation in drylands, since water limited landscapes are typically characterized by little suitable habitat cover, high habitat fragmentation, harsh matrices, and are being rapidly degraded at a global scale. In this study, we modelled landscape connectivity between 11 guanaco Lama guanicoe populations in Chile’s arid Norte Chico, a region that supports the last remnant coastal populations of this emblematic herbivore indigenous to South America. We produced a habitat suitability model to derive a regional surface resistance map, and used circuit theory to map functional connectivity, investigate the relative isolation between populations, and identify those that contribute most to the patch connectivity network. Predicted suitable habitat for L. guanicoe represented about 25% of the study region (i.e., 29,173 km2) and was heterogeneously distributed along a continuous stretch along the Andes, and discontinuous patches along the coast. As a result, we found that high connectivity current flows in the mid and high Andes formed a wide, continuous connectivity corridor, enabling connectivity between all high Andean populations. Coastal populations, in contrast, were more isolated. These groups demonstrate no inter-population connectivity between themselves, only with higher altitude populations, and for two of them, animal movement was linked to the effectiveness of wildlife crossings along the Pan-American highway. Our results indicate that functional connectivity is an issue of concern for L. guanicoe in Chile’s Norte Chico, implying that future conservation and management plans should emphasize strategies aimed at conserving functional connectivity between coastal and Andean populations, as well as the protection of habitat patches likely to act as stepping stones within the connectivity network.
Nutrient exchange in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis from a thermodynamic point of view
Dreyer, I., Spitz, O., Kanonenberg, K., Montag, K., Handrich, M., & Ahmad, S., Schott‐Verdugo, S., Navarro‐Retamal, C., Rubio‐Meléndez, M.E., Gomez‐Porras, J.L., Riedelsberger, J., Molina‐Montenegro, M.A., Succurro, A., Zuccaro, A., Gould, S.V., Bauer, P., Schmitt, L., Gohlke, H.
To obtain insights into the dynamics of nutrient exchange in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, we modelled mathematically the two‐membrane system at the plant–fungus interface and simulated its dynamics.
In computational cell biology experiments, the full range of nutrient transport pathways was tested for their ability to exchange phosphorus (P)/carbon (C)/nitrogen (N) sources.
As a result, we obtained a thermodynamically justified, independent and comprehensive model of the dynamics of the nutrient exchange at the plant–fungus contact zone. The predicted optimal transporter network coincides with the transporter set independently confirmed in wet‐laboratory experiments previously, indicating that all essential transporter types have been discovered.
The thermodynamic analyses suggest that phosphate is released from the fungus via proton‐coupled phosphate transporters rather than anion channels. Optimal transport pathways, such as cation channels or proton‐coupled symporters, shuttle nutrients together with a positive charge across the membranes. Only in exceptional cases does electroneutral transport via diffusion facilitators appear to be plausible. The thermodynamic models presented here can be generalized and adapted to other forms of mycorrhiza and open the door for future studies combining wet‐laboratory experiments with computational simulations to obtain a deeper understanding of the investigated phenomena.
Palabras claves: computational cell biology, modelling, nutrient transport, plant biophysics, plant–fungus interaction
Spatio-temporal variability of strandings of the southern bull kelp Durvillaea antarctica (Fucales, Phaeophyceae) on beaches along the coast of Chile—linked to local storms
López, B., Macaya, E., Jeldres, R., Valdivia, N., Bonta, C., Tala, F., & Thiel, M.
Availability of floating seaweeds may depend on the seasonal cycles of benthic populations, but our ability to predict temporal patterns of stranded biomasses is still limited. Season-dependent, local storms favor detachment of seaweeds from the substratum, which can be reflected in the stranded biomasses on adjacent beaches after these events. Hence, we hypothesized that seaweed strandings are positively correlated with storm intensity. Using as a model the southern bull kelp Durvillaea antarctica (Chamisso) Hariot, a species frequently found in seaweed strandings in Chile, bimonthly surveys were carried out on three beaches: Pichicuy (32° S), Itata Norte (36° S), and Curiñanco (39° S) for 3 years (2014 to 2017). Stranded biomass, total length, and wet weight of specimens were quantified and related to local storms (using the Douglas sea scale). Stranded biomasses decreased in the spring months of each year, being higher in Pichicuy and Curiñanco than Itata Norte. Regression models showed a better fit with recent storms in Curiñanco compared to other beaches. An interannual decrease of beach-cast raft size was observed, showing smaller specimens in Itata Norte than those in Pichicuy and Curiñanco. Reduced habitat availability and the exploitation of natural beds in the central zone (34°–37° S) might explain the decrease of biomasses and sizes of stranded bull kelps. Also, oceanographic features at intermediate (i.e., local winds and currents) and large scales (i.e., El Niño) can help to explain the temporal variability, particularly in spring and summer. Our results suggest that harvesting of stranded bull kelps might be most favorable in summer and autumn.
Palabras claves: Bull kelps, Douglas sea scale, Floating seaweeds, Sandy beaches, Strandings
Coastal biophysical processes and the biogeography of rocky intertidal species along the south-eastern Pacific
Lara, C., Saldías, G., Cazelles, B., Rivadeneira, M., Haye, P., & Broitman, B.
We assess the spatial distribution of a suite of coastal biophysical characteristics and how their variability is related to the distribution and geographic range of a diverse assemblage of coastal benthic species with different larval dispersal strategies.
South‐eastern Pacific (SEP) coast between 18°20′S and 42°35′S.
Biophysical variability was assessed using chlorophyll‐a concentration, sea surface temperature and the signal of turbid river plumes derived from MODIS onboard the Aqua satellite. We established the dominant spatial components using wavelet and coherence analysis, and evaluated the biogeographic structure of 51 rocky intertidal species sampled over ~2,600 km along the SEP using multivariate classification and regression trees.
Biogeographic breaks detected here were consistent with recent biogeographic classification schemes. Distribution breakpoints for species with lecithotrophic larvae clustered around 30°S. We observed a previously unreported break in the distribution of species with planktotrophic larval dispersal strategies around 35°S. These breaks are related to coherence in the spatial structure of sea surface temperature, chlorophyll‐a and river outflow over different temporal scales. Regions with similar biophysical characteristics, and the breaks the separate them, are in striking agreement with the biogeographic patterns revealed by the multivariate classification trees.
Our results reconcile patterns of biogeographic structure reported for other groups of species along the SEP coast. We suggest that river outflow, a poorly studied coastal environmental forcing, may play an important role in determining the geographic distribution of rocky shore species, probably through its effects on larval dispersal patterns.
Palabras claves: biogeographic provinces, larval dispersal, MODIS, multiscale coherence, river outflows, rocky shore invertebrates
Asymmetric competitive effects during species range expansion: An experimental assessment of interaction strength between “equivalent” grazer species in their range overlap
Aguilera, M., Valdivia, N., Jenkins, S., Navarrete, S., & Broitman, B.
Biotic interactions are central to the development of theory and concepts in community ecology; experimental evidence has shown their strong effects on patterns of population and community organization and dynamics over local spatial scales. The role of competition in determining range limits and preventing invasions at biogeographic scales is more controversial, partly because of the complexity of processes involved in species colonization of novel habitats and the difficulties in performing appropriate manipulations and controls.
We examined experimentally whether competition is likely to affect poleward range expansion hindering or facilitating the establishment of the limpet Scurria viridula along the south‐eastern Pacific rocky shore (30°S, Chile) in the region occupied by the congeneric S. zebrina. We also assessed whether competition with the “invader” or range‐expanding species could reduce individual performance of the “native” S. zebrina and depress local populations.
Geographic field surveys were conducted to characterize the abundance and identity of limpets along the south‐eastern Pacific coast from 18°S to 41°S, and the micro‐scale (few cm) spatial distribution across the range overlap of the two species. Field‐based competition experiments were conducted at the southern leading edge of the range of S. viridula (33°S) and at the northern limit of S. zebrina (30°S).
Field surveys showed poleward range expansion of S. viridula of ca. 210 km since year 2000, with an expansion rate of 13.1 km/year. No range shift was detected for S. zebrina. The resident S. zebrina had significant negative effects on the growth rate of the invading juvenile S. viridula, while no effect of the latter was found on S. zebrina. Spatial segregation between species was found at the scale of cms.
Our results provide novel evidence of an asymmetric competitive effect of a resident species on an invader, which may hamper further range expansion. No negative effect of the invader on the resident species was detected. This study highlights the complexities of evaluating the role of species interactions in setting range limits of species, but showed how interspecific competition might slow the advance of an invader by reducing individual performance and overall population size at the advancing front.
Palabras claves: field experiments, grazers, Pacific Ocean, range overlap, range shift, transitional zone
Inter-hemispherical shoreline surveys of anthropogenic marine debris – A binational citizen science project with schoolchildren
Honorato-Zimmer, D., Kruse, K., Knickmeier, K., Weinmann, A., Hinojosa, I., & Thiel, M.
Anthropogenic marine debris (AMD) is a global problem and the identification of its sources is essential for adequate mitigation strategies. Herein we examined whether AMD density and composition differed between two countries with contrasting socio-economic backgrounds and marine litter sources (i.e. Chile and Germany). In nationwide beach litter surveys, we used a citizen science approach with schoolchildren and their teachers. Litter densities were substantially higher in Chile than in Germany. The different geographic zones surveyed in both countries showed strong grouping tendencies according to their main economic activities (tourism, shipping, fisheries/aquaculture), major litter sources, and AMD composition, in terms of dominance and diversity of AMD types. The results suggest that beach litter composition can be used as a simple proxy to identify AMD sources, and also that law enforcement and education can help mitigate the problem; however, for efficient solutions, production and consumption of plastics must be reduced.
Palabras claves: Marine plastic litter, Beach surveys, Litter composition, Litter sources, Citizen science, Schoolchildren
Nest building by a small mesograzer limits blade size of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera
Poore, A., Gutow, L., Lörz, A., & Thiel, M.
Small herbivores are abundant on large marine macrophytes, but their impact on their hosts is poorly understood relative to large grazers such as urchins and fish. To limit the risks of predation, many marine mesograzers live within nests or burrows, potentially causing more damage to plants than predicted from consumption alone. To test whether the growth of large primary producers can be affected by modification of plant structures by small herbivores, we quantified the effect of the nest-building amphipod Pseudopleonexes lessoniae on blades of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera in New Zealand. Amphipods create their nests by rolling the blade margin in close proximity to the meristem. Blades with nests were 40% shorter than blades lacking nests and reduced in area by 55%. We examined the composition of amphipods inhabiting each nest to assess the temporal persistence of grazer aggregations. Nests were occupied by a single female or male–female pairs, and their newly hatched offspring. Analysis of offspring size distributions suggested that offspring dispersed from the maternal nest and did not remain to breed themselves. By concentrating physical damage and feeding on valuable tissues, these results indicate that even low numbers of small herbivores can cause localized impacts on the morphology and size of fast-growing algal blades. Predicting the consequences of this damage on larger scales will require understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of amphipod nests on giant kelp.
Temperature and pCO2 jointly affect the emergence and survival of cercariae from a snail host: implications for future parasitic infections in the Humboldt Current system
Leiva, N., Manríquez, P., Aguilera, V., & González, M.
Ocean warming and acidification are general consequences of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In addition to future predictions, highly productive systems such as the Humboldt Current System are characterized by important variations in both temperature and pCO2 level, but how these physical–chemical ocean changes might influence the transmission and survival of parasites has not been assessed. This study experimentally evaluated the effects of temperature (14, 18 and 25 °C) and the combined effects of temperature (∼15 and 20 °C) and pCO2 level (∼500 and 1400 microatmospheres (µatm) on the emergence and survival of two species of marine trematodes—Echinostomatidae gen. sp. and Philophthalmidae gen. sp.—both of which infect the intertidal snail Echinolittorina peruviana. Snails were collected from intertidal rocky pools in a year-round upwelling area of the northern Humboldt Current System (23°S). Two experiments assessed parasite emergence and survival by simulating emersion-immersion tidal cycles. To assess parasite survival, 2 h old cercariae (on average) were taken from a pool of infected snails incubated at 20–25 °C, and their mortality was recorded every 6 h until all the cercariae were dead. For both species, a trade-off between high emergence and low survival of cercariae was observed in the high temperature treatment. Species-specific responses to the combination of temperature and pCO2 levels were also observed: the emergence of Echinostomatidae cercariae was highest at 20 °C regardless of the pCO2 levels. By contrast, the emergence of Philophthalmidae cercariae was highest at elevated pCO2 (15 and 20 °C), suggesting that CO2 may react synergistically with temperature, increasing transmission success of this parasite in coastal ecosystems of the Humboldt Current System where water temperature and pH are expected to decrease. In conclusion, our results suggest that integrating temperature-pCO2 interactions in parasite studies is essential for understanding the consequence of climate change in future marine ecosystem health.
Palabras claves: Cercariae, Climate change, Gastropod, Intertidal ecosystems, pCO2, Transmission, Trematodes
Plastic Pirates sample litter at rivers in Germany – Riverside litter and litter sources estimated by schoolchildren
Kiessling, T., Knickmeier, K., Kruse, K., Brennecke, D., Nauendorf, A., & Thiel, M.
Rivers are an important source of marine anthropogenic litter, but the particular origins of riverine litter itself have not been well established. Here we used a citizen science approach where schoolchildren examined litter at riversides and identified possible sources at over 250 sampling spots along large and small rivers in Germany, during autumn 2016 and spring 2017. Litter densities have an overall median of 0.14, interquartile range 0–0.57 items m−2 and an overall average (±standard deviation) of 0.54 ± 1.20 litter items m−2. Litter quantities differed only little by sampling year. The principal litter types found were plastics and cigarette butts (31% and 20%, respectively), followed by glass, paper, and metal items, indicating recreational visitors as the principal litter source. At many sites (85%), accumulations of litter, consisting principally of cigarettes and food packaging, have been found. At almost all sampling sites (89%), litter potentially hazardous to human health has been observed, including broken glass, sharp metal objects, used personal hygiene articles and items containing chemicals. In the search for litter sources, the schoolchildren identified mainly people who use the rivers as recreational areas (in contrast to residents living in the vicinity, illegal dumping, or the river itself depositing litter from upstream sources). These results indicate the urgent need for better education and policy measures in order to protect riparian environments and reduce input of riverine litter to the marine environment.
Palabras claves: Plastic litter, Macrolitter, Freshwater, Source identification, Citizen science