58 Works

Data from: Spatial and temporal genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations within a common reef-building coral on the central Great Barrier Reef

Emily J. Howells, Bette L. Willis, Line K. Bay & Madeleine J. H. Van Oppen
The dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium plays a fundamental role in defining the physiological tolerances of coral holobionts, but little is known about the dynamics of these endosymbiotic populations on coral reefs. Sparse data indicate that Symbiodinium populations show limited spatial connectivity; however, no studies have investigated temporal dynamics for in hospite Symbiodinium populations following significant mortality and recruitment events in coral populations. We investigated the combined influences of spatial isolation and disturbance on the population dynamics...

Data from: Signaling cascades and the importance of moonlight in coral broadcast mass spawning

Paulina Kaniewska, Shahar Alon, Sarit Karako-Lampert, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg & Oren Levy
Many reef-building corals participate in a mass-spawning event that occurs yearly on the Great Barrier Reef. This coral reproductive event is one of earth's most prominent examples of synchronised behavior, and coral reproductive success is vital to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. Although several environmental cues have been implicated in the timing of mass spawning, the specific sensory cues that function together with endogenous clock mechanisms to ensure accurate timing of gamete release are...

Dimethylsulfoniopropionate, superoxide dismutase and glutathione as stress response indicators in three corals under short-term hyposalinity stress

Stephanie G. Gardner, Daniel A. Nielsen, Olivier Laczka, Ronald Shimmon, Victor H. Beltran, Peter J. Ralph & Katherina Petrou
Corals are among the most active producers of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a key molecule in marine sulfur cycling, yet the specific physiological role of DMSP in corals remains elusive. Here, we examine the oxidative stress response of three coral species (Acropora millepora, Stylophora pistillata and Pocillopora damicornis) and explore the antioxidant role of DMSP and its breakdown products under short-term hyposalinity stress. Symbiont photosynthetic activity declined with hyposalinity exposure in all three reef-building corals. This corresponded...

Data from: Geographic differences in vertical connectivity in the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa despite high levels of horizontal connectivity at shallow depths

Xaymara Serrano, Iliana B. Baums, Katherine O'Reilly, Tyler B. Smith, Ross J. Jones, Tonya L. Shearer, Flavia L. D. Nunes & Andrew C. Baker
The Deep Reef Refugia Hypothesis proposes that deep reefs can act as local recruitment sources for shallow reefs following disturbance. To test this hypothesis, nine polymorphic DNA microsatellite loci were developed and used to assess vertical connectivity in 583 coral colonies of the Caribbean depth-generalist coral Montastraea cavernosa. Samples were collected from three depth zones (≤10 m, 15-20 m and ≥25 m) at sites in Florida Upper Keys, Lower Keys and Dry Tortugas), Bermuda, and...

Fidelity to foraging sites after long migrations

Takahiro Shimada, Colin Limpus, Mark Hamann, Ian Bell, Nicole Esteban, Rachel Groom & Graeme Hays
1. Patterns of animal movement associated with foraging lie at the heart of many ecological studies and often animals face decisions of staying in an environment they know, versus relocating to new sites. 2. The lack of knowledge of new foraging sites means there is risk associated with a decision to relocate (e.g. poor foraging) as well as a potential benefit (e.g. improved foraging). 3. Using a unique long-term satellite tracking dataset for several sea...

Data from: Integrated evidence reveals a new species in the ancient blue coral genus Heliopora (Octocorallia)

Zoe T. Richards, Nina Yasuda, Taisei Kikuchi, Taryn Foster, Chika Mitsuyuki, Michael Stat, Yoshihisa Suyama & Nerida G. Wilson
Maintaining the accretion potential and three dimensional structure of coral reefs is a priority but reef-building scleractinian corals are highly threatened and retreating. Hence future reefs are predicted to be dominated by non-constructional taxa. Since the Late Triassic however, other non-scleractinian anthozoans such as Heliopora have contributed to tropical and subtropical reef-building. Heliopora is an ancient and highly conserved reef building octocoral genus within the monospecific Family Helioporidae, represented by a single extant species –...

Automated flow control of a multi-lane swimming chamber for small fishes indicates species-specific sensitivity to experimental protocols

Björn Illing, Andrea Severati, Justin Hochen, Paul Boyd, Paulin Raison, Rachel Mather, Adam T. Downie, Jodie L. Rummer, Frederieke J. Kroon & Craig Humphrey
In fishes, swimming performance is considered an important metric to measure fitness, dispersal, and migratory abilities. Swimming performance of individual larval fishes is often integrated into models to make inferences on how environmental parameters affect population-level dynamics (e.g., connectivity). However, little information exists regarding how experimental protocols affect the swimming performance of marine fish larvae. In addition, the technical setups used to measure larval fish swimming performance often lack automation and accurate control of water...

Subcellular view of host–microbiome nutrient exchange in sponges: insights into the ecological success of an early metazoan–microbe symbiosis

Meggie Hudspith, Laura Rix, Michelle Achlatis, Jeremy Bougoure, Paul Guagliardo, Peta L. Clode, Nicole S. Webster, Gerard Muyzer, Mathieu Pernice & Jasper M. De Goeij
Background: Sponges are increasingly recognised as key ecosystem engineers in many aquatic habitats. They play an important role in nutrient cycling due to their unrivalled capacity for processing both dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) and the exceptional metabolic repertoire of their diverse and abundant microbial communities. Functional studies determining the role of host and microbiome in organic nutrient uptake and exchange, however, are limited. Therefore, we coupled pulse-chase isotopic tracer techniques with...

Swim with the tide: tactics to maximise prey detection by a specialist predator, the greater sea snake (Hydrophis major)

Vinay Udyawer, Claire Goiran, Olivier Chateau & Richard Shine
The fitness of a predator depends upon its ability to locate and capture prey; and thus, increasing dietary specialization should favor the evolution of species-specific foraging tactics tuned to taxon-specific habitats and cues. Within marine environments, prey detectability (e.g., via visual or chemical cues) is affected by environmental conditions (e.g., water clarity and tidal flow), such that specialist predators would be expected to synchronize their foraging activity with cyclic variation in such conditions. In the...

Data from: Genetic structure of populations of whale sharks among ocean basins and evidence for their historic rise and recent decline

Thomas M. Vignaud, Jeffrey A. Maynard, Raphael Leblois, Mark G. Meekan, Ricardo Vázquez-Juárez, Dení Ramírez-Macías, Simon J. Pierce, David Rowat, Michael L. Berumen, Champak Beeravolu, Sandra Baksay & Serge Planes
This study presents genetic evidence that whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, are comprised of at least two populations that rarely mix and is the first to document a population expansion. Relatively high genetic structure is found when comparing sharks from the Gulf of Mexico with sharks from the Indo-Pacific. If mixing occurs between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, it is not sufficient to counter genetic drift. This suggests whale sharks are not all part of a...

Data from: Congruent patterns of connectivity can inform management for broadcast spawning corals on the Great Barrier Reef

Lukoschek Vimoksalehi, Cynthia Riginos, Madeleine J.H. Van Oppen, Madeleine J. H. Van Oppen & Vimoksalehi Lukoschek
Connectivity underpins the persistence and recovery of marine ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and managed by an extensive network of no-take zones; however, information about connectivity was not available to optimize the network's configuration. We use multivariate analyses, Bayesian clustering algorithms and assignment tests of the largest population genetic data set for any organism on the GBR to date (Acropora tenuis, >2500 colonies; >50 reefs, genotyped for...

Data from: Large-scale, multi-directional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

David H. Williamson, Hugo B. Harrison, Glenn R. Almany, Michael L. Berumen, Michael Bode, Mary C. Bonin, Severine Choukroun, Peter J. Doherty, Ashley J. Frisch, Pablo Saenz-Agudelo & Geoffrey P. Jones
Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of...

Data from: Naturally occurring hybrids of coral reef butterflyfishes have similar fitness compared to parental species

Stefano R. Montanari, Jean-Paul A. Hobbs, Morgan S. Pratchett, Line K. Bay & Lynne Van Herwerden
Hybridisation can produce evolutionary novelty by increasing fitness and adaptive capacity. Heterosis, or hybrid vigour, has been documented in many plant and animal taxa, and is a notable consequence of hybridisation that has been exploited for decades in agriculture and aquaculture. On the contrary, loss of fitness in naturally occurring hybrid taxa has been observed in many cases. This can have negative consequences for the parental species involved (wasted reproductive effort), and has raised concerns...

Data from: A novel stereo-video method to investigate fish-habitat relationships

Danielle L. Collins, Tim J. Langlois, Todd Bond, Thomas H. Holmes, Euan S. Harvey, Rebecca Fisher & Dianne L. McLean
Habitat complexity is known to influence the structure of fish assemblages. A number of techniques have previously been used to measure complexity, including quantitative in situ methods, which can be time-consuming and labour-intensive, and more rapid semi-quantitative visual scoring methods. This study investigated the utility of a novel method for estimating complexity, whereby habitat height was measured using stereo-photogrammetry from diver-operated stereo-video, traditionally used to sample fish assemblages. This ‘stereo-height’ method was compared to established...

Data from: Recovery from bleaching is mediated by threshold densities of background thermo-tolerant symbiont types in a reef-building coral

Line K. Bay, Jason Doyle, Murray Logan & Ray Berkelmans
Sensitive molecular analyses show that most corals host a complement of Symbiodinium genotypes that includes thermo-tolerant types in low abundance. While tolerant symbiont types are hypothesized to facilitate tolerance to temperature and recovery from bleaching, empirical data on their distribution and relative abundance in corals under ambient and stress conditions are still rare. We quantified visual bleaching and mortality of coral hosts, along with relative abundance of C- and D-type Symbiodinium cells in 82 Acropora...

Data from: Using virtual reality to estimate aesthetic values of coral reefs

Julie Vercelloni, Sam Clifford, M. Julian Caley, Alan R. Pearse, Ross Brown, Allan James, Bryce Christensen, Tomasz Bednarz, Ken Anthony, Manuel González-Rivero, Kerrie Mengersen & Erin E. Peterson
Aesthetic value, or beauty, is important to the relationship between humans and natural environments and is, therefore, a fundamental socioeconomic attribute of conservation alongside other ecosystem services. However, beauty is difficult to quantify and is not estimated well using traditional approaches to monitoring coral reef aesthetics. To improve the estimation of ecosystem aesthetic values, we developed and implemented a novel framework used to quantify features of coral reef aesthetics based on people’s perceptions of beauty....

Data from: Searching for common threads in threadfins: phylogeography of Australian Polynemids in space and time

John B. Horne, Paolo Momigliano, David J. Welch, Stephen J. Newman, Lynne Van Herwerden, JB Horne & SJ Newman
Proper management of marine fisheries requires an understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of marine populations, which can be obtained from genetic data. While numerous fisheries species have been surveyed for spatial genetic patterns, temporally sampled genetic data is not available for many species. Here we present a phylogeographic survey of the king threadfin, Polydactylus macrochir, across its species range in northern Australia and at a temporal scale of one and ten years. Spatially...

Data from: Ecologically relevant dispersal of corals on isolated reefs: implications for managing resilience

James N. Underwood, Luke D. Smith, Madeleine J.H. Van Oppen, James P. Gilmour, Madeleine J. H. Van Oppen & Jim N. Underwood
Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, and marine reserve networks have been advocated as a powerful management tool for maximizing the resilience of coral communities to an increasing variety, number, and severity of disturbances. However, the effective design of reserves must account for the spatial scales of larval dispersal that affect the demography of communities over ecological time frames. Ecologically relevant distances of dispersal were inferred from DNA microsatellite data in a broadcast-spawning (Acropora tenuis)...

Peaceful coexistence between people and deadly wildlife: why are recreational users of the ocean so rarely bitten by sea snakes?

Vinay Udyawer
1) Research on interactions between humans and deadly snakes has focused on situations that result in high rates of snakebite; but we can also learn from cases where snakes and people coexist peacefully. For example, coastal bays near Noumea, in the Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, are used by thousands of tourists and snakes, but bites are rare. 2) Our long-term studies clarify reasons for this coexistence. Although 97% of snakes encountered in standardized snorkel...

Large-scale interventions may delay decline of the Great Barrier Reef

Scott Condie, Ken Anthony, Mark Baird, Roger Beeden, Daniel Harrison, Éva Plagányi, Russell Babcock, Cameron Fletcher, Rebecca Gorton, Alistair Hobday & David Westcott
On the iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR) the cumulative impacts of tropical cyclones, marine heatwaves and regular outbreaks of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) have severely depleted coral cover. Climate change will further exacerbate this situation over the coming decades unless effective interventions are implemented. Evaluating the efficacy of alternative interventions in a complex system experiencing major cumulative impacts can only be achieved through a systems-modeling approach. We have evaluated combinations of interventions using a coral...

Data from: Latitudinal and seasonal variation in space use by a large, predatory reef fish, Plectropomus leopardus

Molly E. Scott, Michelle R. Heupel, Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Jordan K. Matley & Morgan S. Pratchett
1. Temperature directly affects the metabolic rate and resource requirements of ectothermic animals, which is likely to influence their movement and habitat use. Space use is a fundamental component of an animal’s ecology and the extent of an animal’s home range has consequences for individual distributions, community structure and ecosystem function. As ocean temperatures continue to rise as a result of global warming, determining the effects of temperature on space use and movement patterns of...

Data from: Adaptation to reef habitats through selection on the coral animal and its associated microbiome

Madeleine J.H. Van Oppen, Pim Bongaerts, Pedro Frade, Lesa M. Peplow, Sarah E. Boyd, Hieu T. Nim, Line K. Bay & Madeleine J. H. Van Oppen
Spatially adjacent habitats on coral reefs can represent highly distinct environments, often harbouring different coral communities. Yet, certain coral species thrive across divergent environments. It is unknown whether the forces of selection are sufficiently strong to overcome the counteracting effects of the typically high gene flow over short distances, and for local adaptation to occur. We screened the coral genome (using restriction-site-associated sequencing [RAD-seq]), and characterized both the dinoflagellate photosymbiont and tissue-associated prokaryote microbiomes (using...

Data from: Marine plastic pollution in waters around Australia: characteristics, concentrations, and pathways

Julia Reisser, Jeremy Shaw, Chris Wilcox, Britta Denise Hardesty, Maira Proietti, Michele Thums & Charitha Pattiaratchi
Plastics represent the vast majority of human-made debris present in the oceans. However, their characteristics, accumulation zones, and transport pathways are still poorly assessed. We characterised and estimated the concentration of marine plastics in waters around Australia using surface net tows, and inferred their potential pathways using particle-tracking models and real drifter trajectories. The 839 marine plastics recorded were predominantly small fragments (“microplastics”, median length = 2.8 mm, mean length = 4.9 mm) resulting from...

Data from: Genetic diversity and divergence among coastal and offshore reefs in a hard coral depend on geographic discontinuity and oceanic currents.

James N. Underwood
Understanding the evolutionary processes that have shaped existing patterns of genetic diversity of reef-building corals over broad scales is required to inform long-term conservation planning. Genetic structure and diversity of the mass-spawning hard coral, Acropora tenuis, were assessed with seven DNA microsatellite loci from a series of isolated and discontinuous coastal and offshore reef systems in northwest Australia. Significant subdivision was detected among all sites (FST = 0.062, RST = 0.090), with the majority of...

Data from: Molecular genetics to inform spatial management in benthic invertebrate fisheries: a case study using the Australian greenlip abalone

Karen J. Miller, Craig N. Mundy & Stephen Mayfield
Hierarchical sampling and subsequent microsatellite genotyping of >2,300 Haliotis laevigata (greenlip abalone) from 19 locations distributed across five biogeographic regions has substantially advanced our knowledge of population structure and connectivity in this commercially-important species. The study has found key differences in stock structure of H. laevigata compared with the sympatric and con-generic Haliotis rubra (blacklip abalone) and yielded valuable insights into the management of fisheries targeting species characterised by spatial structure at small scales (i.e....

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