Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Gallagher, K. M., and P. G. Albano. 2023. Range contractions, fragmentation, species extirpations, and extinctions of commercially valuable molluscs in the Mediterranean Sea—a climate warming hotspot R. Selden [ed.],. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Abstract The Mediterranean Sea is a global hotspot of climate warming and biodiversity loss where molluscs have provided valuable ecosystem services, such as provisioning and cultural value, since pre-historic times. A high rate of warming and range shift limitations due to the semi-enclosed nature of the basin raise concerns about molluscan population persistence in future climate scenarios. We modelled the future distribution of 13 Mediterranean species of molluscs subject to industrial fisheries exploitation on both the Mediterranean and Atlantic European coasts. We tested the hypothesis that range contractions, fragmentation, and species extirpations will become increasingly severe in the Mediterranean by modelling mid-century and end-century species distributions for four IPCC climate change scenarios. Already under mild emissions scenarios, substantial range contractions and fragmentation are projected in the Mediterranean, suggesting global extinctions by end-century for most endemic species. Colder deep waters do not act as refugia, contrary to expectations. Species also occurring along the Atlantic European coasts may benefit from warming through range expansions to higher latitudes or deeper waters. Most of the modeled species are already over-exploited, but their eradication from the Mediterranean will imply substantial financial losses and a profound cultural change in coastal communities.

Clemente, K. J. E., and M. S. Thomsen. 2023. High temperature frequently increases facilitation between aquatic foundation species: a global meta‐analysis of interaction experiments between angiosperms, seaweeds, and bivalves. Journal of Ecology.

Many studies have quantified ecological impacts of individual foundation species (FS). However, emerging data suggest that FS often co‐occur, potentially inhibiting or facilitating one another, thereby causing indirect, cascading effects on surrounding communities. Furthermore, global warming is accelerating, but little is known about how interactions between co‐occurring FS vary with temperature.Shallow aquatic sedimentary systems are often dominated by three types of FS: slower‐growing clonal angiosperms, faster‐growing solitary seaweeds, and shell‐forming filter‐ and deposit‐feeding bivalves. Here, we tested the impacts of one FS on another by analyzing manipulative interaction experiments from 148 papers with a global meta‐analysis.We calculated 1,942 (non‐independent) Hedges’ g effect sizes, from 11,652 extracted values over performance responses, such as abundances, growths or survival of FS, and their associated standard deviations and replication levels. Standard aggregation procedures generated 511 independent Hedges’ g that was classified into six types of reciprocal impacts between FS.We found that (i) seaweeds had consistent negative impacts on angiosperms across performance responses, organismal sizes, experimental approaches, and ecosystem types; (ii) angiosperms and bivalves generally had positive impacts on each other (e.g., positive effects of angiosperms on bivalves were consistent across organismal sizes and experimental approaches, but angiosperm effect on bivalve growth and bivalve effect on angiosperm abundance were not significant); (iii) bivalves positively affected seaweeds (particularly on growth responses); (iv) there were generally no net effects of seaweeds on bivalves (except for positive effect on growth) or angiosperms on seaweeds (except for positive effect on ‘other processes’); and (v) bivalve interactions with other FS were typically more positive at higher temperatures, but angiosperm‐seaweed interactions were not moderated by temperature.Synthesis: Despite variations in experimental and spatiotemporal conditions, the stronger positive interactions at higher temperatures suggest that facilitation, particularly involving bivalves, may become more important in a future warmer world. Importantly, addressing research gaps, such as the scarcity of FS interaction experiments from tropical and freshwater systems and for less studied species, as well as testing for density‐dependent effects, could better inform aquatic ecosystem conservation and restoration efforts and broaden our knowledge of FS interactions in the Anthropocene.

Chaudhary, C., J. M. Alfaro-Lucas, M. V. P. Simões, A. Brandt, and H. Saeedi. 2023. Potential geographic shifts in the coral reef ecosystem under climate change. Progress in Oceanography 213: 103001.

The coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world. Considering its contribution as a natural resource for humanity and global biodiversity, it is critical to understand its response to climatic change. To date, no global predictions have been made about potential ecosystem changes in relation to its inhabiting species. Predicting changes in species' climatic suitability under increasing temperature and comparing them among species would be the first step in understanding the geographic and taxonomic coherence and discrepancies that may occur within the ecosystem. Using 57 species-specific global climate suitability models (of corals, molluscs, fish, crustaceans, and polychaetes) under present and future climate scenarios (RCP 4.5 and 8.5), we compared the potential coherence and differences and their cumulative impact on the ecosystem in warm, cold, shallow, and deep waters.Under the climatic scenarios, nearly 90% of 30 warm-water species were predicted to lose their suitability in the parts of the Indo-west Pacific, the Coast of Northern Australia, the South China Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the overall southward shift in their distributions. In contrast, a mixed response occurred in 27 cold-water species, with most northern temperate/boreal ones increasing their suitability in the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic species declining overall. We noticed that irrespective of their taxonomic group, the species with wider distribution ranges (thermal and geographic) had larger predicted gains in their suitability than their stenothermal counterparts, suggesting an increase of generalist species and a decline of specialist (endemic) species of the ecosystem under a warming climate.Our coherent projections of species' climatic suitability in warm and cold habitats of the tropics, temperate, boreal, and the Arctic, represent significant taxonomic groups of the ecosystem. This might indicate mass extinction risk (local– in the tropics and northern temperate regions, and overall– in the Arctic) in native habitats and a high species turnover across the ecosystem under a warming climate. This may also destabilise predator–prey dynamics in the ecosystem, especially if foraging specialists dominate coral food webs and adversely affect the associated countries. Our global projections highlight the regions of species’ potential loss and gain; stakeholders could use the information to protect biodiversity and maintain human well-being.

Mendes, C. B., T. Cortez, C. S. G. Santos, T. Sobral‐Souza, A. D. Santos, D. K. Sasaki, D. A. Silva, et al. 2022. Seascape genetics in a polychaete worm: Disentangling the roles of a biogeographic barrier and environmental factors. Journal of Biogeography.

Aim Seascape genomic studies aim to understand how environmental variables shape species diversity through genotype–environment associations. Identifying these effects on lecithotrophic larval species that live in intertidal zones is particularly challenging because they are subject to environmental heterogeneity and anthropogenic events. Here, we evaluate how biotic and abiotic features in the Southwest Atlantic littoral zone can affect a high dispersal species' present and historical demography. Location Brazilian coast, covering more than 3000 km. Taxon Perinereis ponteni. Methods We investigated population genetic diversity, connectivity and past dynamics using 23,300 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) generated using genotyping by sequencing. We tested whether environmental abiotic variables could explain the variance found in genotype frequencies using isolation-by-environment (IBE) and landscape association approaches. These data, combined with palaeodistribution simulations and oceanic circulation modelling, were used to infer species demographic history and connectivity patterns. Results Along with high levels of connectivity detected, we found a genetic boundary in the southeastern region of Brazil around Cabo Frio (Rio de Janeiro), and a cline trend for some loci. The palaeodistribution simulations reveal a spatial refuge in the southeast during the Last Glacial Maximum (21 kya), with the expansion of the northern region. We identified 1421 SNPs with frequencies associated with eight environmental variables, most of which were related to temperature—the main environmental factor determining IBE. Main Conclusions Perinereis ponteni, a polychaete with high gene flow capability responds to biogeographic barriers, highlighting the importance of biotic and abiotic factors in shaping population connectivity. Furthermore, the effect of temperature indicates that future climate change and ocean warming can hugely impact this species.

Descôteaux, R., M. Huserbråten, L. Jørgensen, P. Renaud, R. Ingvaldsen, E. Ershova, and B. Bluhm. 2022. Origin of marine invertebrate larvae on an Arctic inflow shelf. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Many benthic invertebrate taxa possess planktonic early life stages which drift with water currents and contribute to dispersal of the species, sometimes reaching areas beyond the current ranges of the adults. Until recently, it had been difficult to identify planktonic larvae to species level due to lack of distinguishing features, preventing detection of expatriate species. Here we used DNA metabarcoding of the COI gene to obtain species-level identification of early life stages of benthic invertebrates in zooplankton samples from the Barents Sea and around Svalbard, where, regionally, large volumes of warm Atlantic Water enter the Arctic from the south. We compared the larval community in the water column to the adult community on the seafloor to identify mismatches. In addition, we implemented particle tracking analysis to identify the possible areas of origin of larvae. Our results show that 30–45% of larval taxa—largely polychaetes and nudibranchs—were not local to the sampling area, though most were found nearby in the Barents Sea. In the particle tracking analysis, some larvae originating along the Norwegian coast were capable of reaching the northwest coast of Svalbard within 3 mo, but larvae found east of Svalbard had a more constrained possible area of origin which did not extend to the Norwegian coast. This study highlights largely regional-scale larval connectivity in the Barents Sea but demonstrates the potential for some long-lived larval taxa to travel to Svalbard and the Barents Sea from further south.

Kopperud, B. T., S. Lidgard, and L. H. Liow. 2022. Enhancing georeferenced biodiversity inventories: automated information extraction from literature records reveal the gaps. PeerJ 10: e13921.

We use natural language processing (NLP) to retrieve location data for cheilostome bryozoan species (text-mined occurrences (TMO)) in an automated procedure. We compare these results with data combined from two major public databases (DB): the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Using DB and TMO data separately and in combination, we present latitudinal species richness curves using standard estimators (Chao2 and the Jackknife) and range-through approaches. Our combined DB and TMO species richness curves quantitatively document a bimodal global latitudinal diversity gradient for extant cheilostomes for the first time, with peaks in the temperate zones. A total of 79% of the georeferenced species we retrieved from TMO (N = 1,408) and DB (N = 4,549) are non-overlapping. Despite clear indications that global location data compiled for cheilostomes should be improved with concerted effort, our study supports the view that many marine latitudinal species richness patterns deviate from the canonical latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG). Moreover, combining online biodiversity databases with automated information retrieval from the published literature is a promising avenue for expanding taxon-location datasets.

Bosso, L., S. Smeraldo, D. Russo, M. L. Chiusano, G. Bertorelle, K. Johannesson, R. K. Butlin, et al. 2022. The rise and fall of an alien: why the successful colonizer Littorina saxatilis failed to invade the Mediterranean Sea. Biological Invasions.

Understanding what determines range expansion or extinction is crucial to predict the success of biological invaders. We tackled this long-standing question from an unparalleled perspective using the failed expansions in Littorina saxatilis and investigated its present and past habitat suitability in Europe through Ecological Niche Modelling. This intertidal snail is a typically successful Atlantic colonizer and the earliest confirmed alien species in the Mediterranean Sea, where, however, it failed to thrive despite its high dispersal ability and adaptability. We explored the environmental constraints affecting its biogeography, identified potential glacial refugia in Europe that fuelled its post-glacial colonisations and tested whether the current gaps in its distribution are linked to local ecological features. Our results suggested that L. saxatilis is unlikely to be a glacial relict in the Mediterranean basin. Multiple Atlantic glacial refugia occurred in the Last Glacial Maximum, and abiotic environmental features such as salinity and water temperature have influenced the past and current distributions of this snail and limited its invasion of the Mediterranean Sea. The snail showed a significant overlap in geographic space and ecological niche with Carcinus maenas , the Atlantic predator, but distinct from Pachygrapsus marmoratus , the Mediterranean predator, further pointing to Atlantic-like habitat requirements for this species. Abiotic constrains during introduction rather than dispersal abilities have shaped the past and current range of L. saxatilis and help explaining why some invasions have not been successful. Our findings contribute to clarifying the processes constraining or facilitating shifts in species’ distributions and biological invasions.

Tazikeh, S., S. Zendehboudi, S. Ghafoori, A. Lohi, and N. Mahinpey. 2022. Algal bioenergy production and utilization: Technologies, challenges, and prospects. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 10: 107863.

Increasing demand for energy and also escalating environmental pollution show that industries cannot rely on fossil fuels, and it is necessary to adopt an alternative. In recent decades, algal bioenergy has emerged as a renewable energy source in different industries. However, algal bioenergy production is costly and faces different challenges and unknown aspects that need to be addressed. Experimental and theoretical research works have revealed that the efficiency of algal bioenergy production is influenced by several factors, including algae species, temperature, light, CO2, cultivation method, and available nutrients. Algal bioenergy production on commercial scales in cost-effective ways is the main aim of industries to compete with fossil fuels. Hence, it is vital to have a comprehensive knowledge of the previous findings and attain a suitable pathway for future studies/activities. In the present review paper, the potential of microalgae bioenergy production, influential parameters, previous experimental and theoretical studies, and different methods for microalgae biofuel production from cultivation stage to utilization are reviewed. Moreover, this work discusses the engineering activities and economic analysis of microalgae cultivation to utilization, and also useful suggestions are made for future research works. The outcomes of the present work confirm that innovative engineering methods can overcome scale-up challenging, increase the rate of production, and decrease the cost of algae bioenergy production. Hence, there is no long way to produce cost-effective algae bioenergy on commercial scales.

Ramírez, F., V. Sbragaglia, K. Soacha, M. Coll, and J. Piera. 2022. Challenges for Marine Ecological Assessments: Completeness of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable Biodiversity Data in European Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science 8.

The ongoing contemporary biodiversity crisis may result in much of ocean’s biodiversity to be lost or deeply modified without even being known. As the climate and anthropogenic-related impacts on marine systems accelerate, biodiversity knowledge integration is urgently required to evaluate and monit…

Ross, R. E., G. Gonzalez-Mirelis, P. Lozano, and P. Buhl-Mortensen. 2021. Discerning the Management-Relevant Ecology and Distribution of Sea Pens (Cnidaria: Pennatulacea) in Norway and Beyond. Frontiers in Marine Science 8.

Sea pens are considered to be of conservation relevance according to multiple international legislations and agreements. Consequently, any information about their ecology and distribution should be of use to management decision makers. This study aims to provide such information about six taxa of se…