Spatial and temporal variability in macroalgal blooms in a eutrophied coastal estuary
All three macroalgal clades (Chlorophyta, Rhodophyta, and Phaeophyceae) contain bloom-forming species. Macroalgal blooms occur worldwide and have negative consequences for coastal habitats and economies. Narragansett Bay (NB), Rhode Island, USA, is a medium sized estuary that is heavily influenced by anthropogenic activities and has been plagued by macroalgal blooms for over a century. Over the past decade, significant investment has upgraded wastewater treatment from secondary treatment to water-quality based limits (i.e. tertiary treatment) in an effort to control coastal eutrophication in this system. The goal of this study was to improve the understanding of multi-year macroalgal bloom dynamics through intensive aerial and ground surveys conducted monthly to bi-monthly during low tides in May–October 2006–2013 in NB. Aerial surveys provided a rapid characterization of macroalgal densities across a large area, while ground surveys provided high resolution measurements of macroalgal identity, percent cover, and biomass. Macroalgal blooms in NB are dominated by Ulva and Gracilaria spp. regardless of year or month, although all three clades of macroalgae were documented. Chlorophyta cover and nutrient concentrations were highest in the middle and upper bay. Rhodophyta cover was highest in the middle and lower bay, while drifting Phaeophyceae cover was patchy. Macroalgal blooms of >1000 g fresh mass (gfm)/m2 (max = 3510 gfm/m2) in the intertidal zone and >3000 gfm/m3 (max = 8555 gfm/m3) in the subtidal zone were observed within a heavily impacted embayment (Greenwich Bay). Macroalgal percent cover (intertidal), biomass (subtidal), and diversity varied significantly between year, month-group, site, and even within sites, with the highest species diversity at sites outside of Greenwich Bay. Total intertidal macroalgal percent cover, as well as subtidal Ulva biomass, were positively correlated with temperature. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentrations were correlated with the total biomass of macroalgae and the subtidal biomass of Gracilaria spp. but not the biomass of Ulva spp. Despite seasonal reductions in the nutrient output of wastewater treatment facilities emptying into upper Narragansett Bay in recent years, macroalgal blooms still persist. Continued long-term monitoring of water quality, macroalgal blooms, and ecological indicators is essential to understand the changes in macroalgal bloom dynamics that occur after nutrient reductions from management efforts.
Etmopterus alphus n. sp.: a new lanternshark (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae) from the south-western Indian Ocean
Article in Press, A new species of lanternshark, Etmopterus alphus (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae), is described from the south-western Indian Ocean. The new species resembles other members of the ‘Etmopterus lucifer’ clade in having linear rows of dermal denticles and most closely resembles E. molleri from the south-western Pacific. The new species is fairly common along the upper continental slopes off central Mozambique, at depths between 472 and 558 m, and is also found on the southern Madagascar Ridge in 650–792 m depth. It can be distinguished from other members of the E. lucifer clade by a combination of characteristics, including arrangement of flank and caudal markings, dimension of flank markings and shape, size and arrangement of dermal denticles along the body. Molecular analysis further supports the distinction of E. alphus from other members of the E. lucifer clade.
Predicting animal home-range structure and transitions using a multistate Ornstein-Uhlenbeck biased random walk
Article in Press, The home-range concept is central in animal ecology and behavior, and numerous mechanistic models have been developed to understand home range formation and maintenance. These mechanistic models usually assume a single, contiguous home range. Here we describe and implement a simple home-range model that can accommodate multiple home-range centers, form complex shapes, allow discontinuities in use patterns, and infer how external and internal variables affect movement and use patterns. The model assumes individuals associate with two or more home-range centers and move among them with some estimable probability. Movement in and around home-range centers is governed by a two-dimensional Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process, while transitions between centers are modeled as a stochastic state-switching process. We augmented this base model by introducing environmental and demographic covariates that modify transition probabilities between home-range centers and can be estimated to provide insight into the movement process. We demonstrate the model using telemetry data from sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in California. The model was fit using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method, which estimated transition probabilities, as well as unique Ornstein-Uhlenbeck diffusion and centralizing tendency parameters. Estimated parameters could then be used to simulate movement and space use that was virtually indistinguishable from real data. We used Deviance Information Criterion (DIC) scores to assess model fit and determined that both wind and reproductive status were predictive of transitions between home-range centers. Females were less likely to move between home-range centers on windy days, less likely to move between centers when tending pups, and much more likely to move between centers just after weaning a pup. These tendencies are predicted by theoretical movement rules but were not previously known and show that our model can extract meaningful behavioral insight from complex movement data.