CIEE Research Station Bonaire

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

CIEE Research Station Bonaire

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
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Lyons P.J.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire | Arboleda E.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire | Benkwitt C.E.,Oregon State University | Davis B.,Colorado College | And 7 more authors.
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2015

The effect of recreational SCUBA diving on coral reefs is likely secondary to many of the commonly cited stressors that threaten the long-term survival of coral reefs, such as rising temperatures. However, recreational SCUBA diving has had documented effects on various benthic organisms. Most research on the effect of SCUBA divers has focused on broken and abraded benthic organisms or the rate at which divers contact the benthos. We tested for differences in the structural complexity and benthic assemblage between pairs of heavily and lightly trafficked dive sites in Bonaire, a popular Carribbean diving destination. There was roughly 10 % less structural complexity in areas of heavy traffic. This is alarming given that the structural complexity of shallow reefs in Bonaire is substantially lower than in the 1970s. Different functional groups of benthic organisms were affected differentially by diving traffic. For instance, massive corals such as Orbicella annularis were 31 % less abundant at heavy than light diver traffic areas, while gorgonians and sponges had similar abundances at heavy and light diver traffic areas. Our results match those of previous studies on the resistance and resilience of tropical benthic reef organisms to physical disturbances that suggest that stony corals are more prone to physical damage than gorgonians and sponges. We provide a number of possible management strategies that could reduce the effects of recreational SCUBA divers on Bonaire and elsewhere, including education/intervention by dive guides and concentration of diving traffic away from areas of stony coral abundance. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Oliveri P.,University College London | Fortunato A.E.,CNRS Laboratory of Computational and Quantitative Biology | Petrone L.,University College London | Ishikawa-Fujiwara T.,Osaka University | And 14 more authors.
Marine Genomics | Year: 2014

The Cryptochrome/Photolyase Family (CPF) represents an ancient group of widely distributed UV-A/blue-light sensitive proteins sharing common structures and chromophores. During the course of evolution, different CPFs acquired distinct functions in DNA repair, light perception and circadian clock regulation. Previous phylogenetic analyses of the CPF have allowed reconstruction of the evolution and distribution of the different CPF super-classes in the tree of life. However, so far only limited information is available from the CPF orthologs in aquatic organisms that evolved in environments harboring great diversity of life forms and showing peculiar light distribution and rhythms. To gain new insights into the evolutionary and functional relationships within the CPF family, we performed a detailed study of CPF members from marine (diatoms, sea urchin and annelid) and freshwater organisms (teleost) that populate diverse habitats and exhibit different life strategies. In particular, we first extended the CPF family phylogeny by including genes from aquatic organisms representative of several branches of the tree of life. Our analysis identifies four major super-classes of CPF proteins and importantly singles out the presence of a plant-like CRY in diatoms and in metazoans. Moreover, we show a dynamic evolution of Cpf genes in eukaryotes with various events of gene duplication coupled to functional diversification and gene loss, which have shaped the complex array of Cpf genes in extant aquatic organisms. Second, we uncover clear rhythmic diurnal expression patterns and light-dependent regulation for the majority of the analyzed Cpf genes in our reference species.Our analyses reconstruct the molecular evolution of the CPF family in eukaryotes and provide a solid foundation for a systematic characterization of novel light activated proteins in aquatic environments. © 2014.

Lyons P.J.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Lyons P.J.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire
Environmental Biology of Fishes | Year: 2014

Mutualist species compete intra and inter-specifically for the resources provided by their partners. Because obligate mutualists are more reliant than facultative mutualists on the resources that their partners provide, they are expected to compete more strongly for those resources. Here, I examined interference competition in two goby fishes: Nes longus (an obligate mutualist) and Ctenogobius saepepallens (a facultative mutualist). Both gobies associate with the shrimp, Alpheus floridanus. Shrimp provide gobies with refuge from predators (a burrow in the sand), and gobies provide shrimp with a warning signal when predators are near. Using an aquarium experiment, I examined the behavior of a pair of gobies with access to a single shrimp burrow. I used four different goby pairings: large N. longus and small N. longus, large N. longus and small C. saepepallens, large C. saepepallens and small N. longus, and large C. saepepallens and small C. saepepallens. When paired with large N. longus individuals, small gobies of both species were less likely to occupy the single burrow than when paired with large C. saepepallens individuals. In addition, large N. longus individuals were less likely to co-occupy the single burrow with smaller gobies than were large C. saepepallens individuals. These results seem to indicate that large N. longus individuals exclude smaller gobies from burrows, while large C. saepepallens individuals do not. This study adds evidence to the supposition that obligate mutualists in general compete more strongly for mutualist partners than do facultative mutualists. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Lyosn P.J.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Lyosn P.J.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2014

Alpheid shrimps and gobiid fishes engage in a mutualism in which shrimp construct burrows that are co-habited with gobies and used as refuge from predators by both. Gobies act as sentinels for shrimp. In the western Atlantic, different goby species have been hypothesized to have a facultative (Ctenogobius saepepallens) and obligate (Nes longus) association with the shrimp Alpheus floridanus. I compared various behaviors among these 2 gobies and another goby that occasionally associates with shrimp (Coryphopterus glaucofraenum). The putatively obligate goby had the greatest preference for shrimp burrows versus other shelters, had the greatest partner fidelity, and facilitated more emergence by shrimp by remaining for longer periods at shrimp burrow entrances. These findings provide evidence that in shrimp?goby mutualism, the more specialized and dependent mutualist gobies provide greater services to their shrimp partners. © Inter-Research 2014.

Tyrie E.K.,Western Kentucky University | Tyrie E.K.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire | Hanlon R.T.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Hanlon R.T.,Brown University | And 3 more authors.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2015

Camouflage is a common tactic to avoid detection or recognition by predators and prey. Flounders have adaptive camouflage but a limited body pattern repertoire. We tested whether peacock flounders actively select or avoid certain substrates to more effectively use their limited camouflaging ability. We acquired and analyzed ten 30-min videos of individual flounders on a coral reef in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. Using Manly's beta resource selection indices, we were able to confirm that peacock flounders at this location preferred to settle on neutral-coloured substrates, such as sand and dead coral. Moreover, they avoided live coral, cyanobacteria, and sponges, which are often brightly coloured (e.g. yellow, orange, and purple). Quantitative analyses of photographs of settled flounders indicate that they use uniform and mottled camouflage patterns, and that the small-to-moderate spatial scale of their physiologically controlled light and dark skin components limits their camouflage capabilities to substrates with similar colour and spatial frequencies. These fishes changed their body pattern very fast. We did not observe disruptive body patterns, which are generally characterized by large-scale skin components and higher contrast. The results suggest that flounders are using visual information to actively choose substrates on which they can achieve general background resemblance. © 2014 The Linnean Society of London.

Meltvedt A.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Meltvedt A.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire | Jadot C.,Research Station Bonaire
Marine Technology Society Journal | Year: 2014

Coral reefs around the globe are subject to environmental and anthropogenicstressors that are causing habitat degradation and a decline in reef resilience. Paststudies of Caribbean reefs document a decrease in coral cover with a simultaneousincrease in algal cover after significant stress, disturbance, or coral mortality. Thelong-term shift from coral-dominated reefs to algae-dominated reefs is known as acoral-algal phase shift. This study assessed the progression of a coral-algal phaseshift at a fringing reef around Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, by comparing currentcoral and algal benthic cover to historical data, from 1997 to 2008, at a site nearby.Research was conducted over a 5-w period fromSeptember to October 2012. Twenty10-m transects were filmed and analyzed through Coral Point Count with Excel extensionssoftware to determine percent live coral and algal cover.Mean coral cover atthe study site was 14.3%, and algal cover was 72.4%. In comparison to historicaldata, a significant increase in the algae-coral ratio indicated a progression of acoral-algal phase shift in Bonaire. This study contributes to the scientific knowledgeof coral-algal phase shifts in the Bonaire reef ecosystemand the broader scientific reefconservation. © 2014, Marine Technology Society Inc. All rights reserved.

Claydon J.A.B.,Stanford University | Claydon J.A.B.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire | Calosso M.C.,Stanford University | Calosso M.C.,CIEE Research Station Bonaire | And 2 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2015

The rainbow parrotfish Scarus guacamaia has an obligate dependence on mangroves at juvenile stages, and, as the largest herbivorous fish in the Caribbean region, its distribution has important implications for coral reefs. The effect of connectivity with mangroves on relative density, biomass and size of S. guacamaia was assessed from over 65 km of visual surveys from Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands. In addition, an individual-based, age-structured, mechanistic model (IBM) was developed to explain dispersal patterns from nurseries for S. guacamaia. In the IBM, mortality was constant, growth was determined by a von Bertalanffy growth equation, and movement was modeled through a random walk process. Using the IBM, simulations were run to generate patterns of density, biomass, and size with distance from nurseries. Rainbow parrotfish were observed as far as 42 km away from the nearest mangroves on Bonaire. Relative density and biomass showed significant exponential declines with distance from the primary mangrove nursery and were significantly higher in high versus low complexity non-mangrove habitats. Mean size increased linearly with distance (r2 = 0.74), reflecting an absence of smaller individuals with greater distance. These results were closely mirrored by the simulation study: density and biomass declined exponentially with distance from nurseries, and size and age increased following saturating functions. The results suggest that mangroves may have the potential to supply individuals much further than previously thought. Both the empirical and simulation studies reaffirm calls to prioritise protection of reef habitats close to nurseries as well as the nurseries themselves. © Inter-Research 2015 ·

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