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Nelson, New Zealand

The Cawthron Institute is New Zealand's largest independent science organisation, specialising in science that supports the environment and development within primary industries.Established in 1919 with a bequest from Thomas Cawthron, the organisation’s activities must benefit the Nelson Region and the nation. Governed by the Board of Trustees of the Thomas Cawthron Charitable Trust, Cawthron Institute employs almost 200 scientists, researchers,laboratory specialists and technical staff.Cawthron has its main facilities in Nelson. They work with regional councils, government departments, major industries, private companies, and other research organisations throughout New Zealand and around the world. Cawthron employs approximately 200 scientists, laboratory technicians, researchers and specialist staff from more than 20 countries. They have both chemistry and microbiology labs, and have a major focus on food related testing for food safety and export certification. Cawthorn holds IANZ accreditation for a wide range of tests. Their scientists include experts in aquaculture, marine and freshwater resources, food safety and quality, algal technologies, biosecurity and analytical testing. Wikipedia.

Vessel traffic is the primary pathway for non-indigenous marine species introductions to New Zealand, with hull fouling recognised as being an important mechanism. This article describes hull fouling on seven slow-moving commercial vessels sampled over a 1 year period. Sampling involved the collection of images and fouling specimens from different hull locations using a standardised protocol developed to assess vessel biofouling in New Zealand. A total of 29 taxa was identified by expert taxonomists, of which 24% were indigenous to New Zealand and 17% non-indigenous. No first records to New Zealand were reported, however 59% of species were classified as 'unknown' due to insufficient taxonomic resolution. The extent of fouling was low compared to that described for other slow-movers. Fouling cover, biomass and richness were on average 17.1% (SE = 1.8%), 5.2 g (SE = 1.1 g) and 0.8 (SE = 0.07) per photoquadrat (200 x 200 mm), respectively. The fouling extent was lowest on the main hull areas where the antifouling paint was in good condition. In contrast, highest levels of fouling were associated with dry-docking support strips and other niche areas of the hull where the paint condition was poor. Future studies should target vessels from a broader range of bioregions, including vessels that remain idle for extended periods (ie months) between voyages, to increase understanding of the biosecurity risks posed by international commercial slow-movers.

Putnam H.M.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology | Stat M.,University of Western Australia | Stat M.,Australian Institute of Marine Science | Pochon X.,Cawthron Institute | Gates R.D.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

Flexibility in biological systems is seen as an important driver of macro-ecosystem function and stability. Spatially constrained endosymbiotic settings, however, are less studied, although environmental thresholds of symbiotic corals are linked to the function of their endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities. Symbiotic flexibility is a hypothesized mechanism that corals may exploit to adapt to climate change. This study explores the flexibility of the coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis through quantification of Symbiodinium ITS2 sequence assemblages in a range of coral species and genera. Sequence assemblages are expressed as an index of flexibility incorporating phylogenetic divergence and relative abundance of Symbiodinium sequences recovered from the host. This comparative analysis reveals profound differences in the flexibility of corals for Symbiodinium, thereby classifying corals as generalists or specifists. Generalists such as Acropora and Pocillopora exhibit high intra- and inter-species flexibility in their Symbiodinium assemblages and are some of the most environmentally sensitive corals. Conversely, specifists such as massive Porites colonies exhibit low flexibility, harbour taxonomically narrow Symbiodinium assemblages, and are environmentally resistant corals. Collectively, these findings challenge the paradigm that symbiotic flexibility enhances holobiont resilience. This underscores the need for a deeper examination of the extent and duration of the functional benefits associated with endosymbiotic diversity and flexibility under environmental stress. © 2012 The Royal Society.

The natural chemical compounds radicicol, polygodial and ubiquinone-10 (Q10) have previously been identified as inhibitors of metamorphosis in ascidian larvae. Accordingly, they have potential as a specific remedy for the costly problem of fouling ascidians in bivalve aquaculture. In this study, these compounds were screened for their effects on the physiological health of an aquaculture species, the green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus Gmelin, at or above the 99% effective dose (IC(99)) in ascidians. Three physiological biomarkers of mussel health were screened: growth (increases in shell height and wet weight), condition (condition index) and mitochondrial respirational function (Complex I-mediated respiration, Complex II-mediated respiration, maximum uncoupled respiration, leak respiration, respiratory control ratios and phosphorylation system control ratios). While polygodial and Q10 had no effect on mussel growth or the condition index, radicicol retarded growth and decreased the condition index. Mitochondrial respirational function was unaffected by radicicol and polygodial. Conversely, Q10 enhanced Complex I-mediated respiration, highlighting the fundamental role of this compound in the electron transport system. The present study suggests that polygodial and Q10 do not negatively affect the physiological health of P. canaliculus at the IC(99) in ascidians, while radicicol is toxic. Moreover, Q10 is of benefit in biomedical settings as a cellular antioxidant and therefore may also benefit P. canaliculus. Accordingly, polygodial and Q10 should be progressed to the next stage of testing where possible negative effects on bivalves will be further explored, followed by development of application techniques and testing in a laboratory and aquaculture setting.

This study used a specially designed MAGPLATE system to quantify the en route survivorship and post-voyage recovery of biofouling assemblages subjected to short voyages (< 12 h) across a range of vessel speeds (slow, medium, fast; in the range 4.0-21.5 knots). The effect of hull location (bow, amidships and stern) was also examined. While no significant differences were evident in en route survivorship of biofouling organisms amongst hull locations, biofouling cover and richness were markedly reduced on faster vessels relative to slower craft. Therefore, the potential inoculum size of non-indigenous marine species and richness is likely to be reduced for vessels that travel at faster speeds (> 14 knots), which is likely to also reduce the chances of successful introductions. Despite this, the magnitude of introductions from biofouling on fast vessels can be considered minor, especially for species richness where 90% of source-port species were recorded at destinations.

Hopkins G.A.,Cawthron Institute
Biofouling | Year: 2010

The present study tested two diver-operated rotating brush systems, coupled with suction and collection capabilities, to determine their efficacy in the management of vessel biofouling. Both rotating brush systems proved effective (> 80%) in removing low-to-moderate levels of fouling from flat and curved experimental surfaces (Perspex plates). However, performance was generally poorer at removing more advanced levels of fouling. In particular, mature calcareous organisms were relatively resistant to the rotating brushes, with a high proportion (up to 50%) remaining on plates following treatment. On average, > 95% of defouled material was collected and retained by both systems. The amount of lost material generally increased when treating curved plates with increasing biomass, whereas the material lost from flat plates was typically less and remained relatively constant throughout the trials. The majority (> 80%) of fouling not captured by the systems was crushed by the brushes (ie non-viable). However, a diverse range of viable organisms (eg barnacles and hydroids) was lost to the environment during the defouling trials. When defouling a vessel, unintentional detachment of fouling organisms is likely to be high through physical disturbance by divers operating the devices and by associated equipment (eg hoses). Furthermore, residual biosecurity risks are also likely to remain due to diver error, persistent fouling remaining on treated surfaces and the inaccessibility of niche areas to the brush systems. To address these limitations, further research into alternative treatment methods is required.

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