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Vanhaecke D.,Aberystwyth University | Vanhaecke D.,Flanders Marine Institute | Garcia de Leaniz C.,University of Swansea | Gajardo G.,University of Los Lagos | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2015

Aim: The ecological effects of biological invasions are well documented, but little is known about the effects of invaders on the genetic structure of native species. We examined the phylogeography, genetic variation and population structuring of two galaxiid fishes, Aplochiton zebra and A. taeniatus, threatened by non-native salmonids, and whose conservation is complicated by misidentification and limited knowledge of their genetic diversity. Location: Chile and the Falkland Islands. Methods: We combined microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (16S rDNA and COI) markers to compare genetic diversity, effective population size and gene flow of Aplochiton spp. populations differentially affected by salmonid presence. Results: We identified two 16S rDNA haplotypes among A. zebra - one dominant in coastal populations and another dominant in inland populations. Populations living on the island of Chiloé displayed a mixture of coastal and inland haplotypes, as well as high microsatellite diversity, as one would expect if the island had been a refugium during the Last Glacial Maximum, or a contact zone among populations. Microsatellite data revealed strong population structuring, indicative of current isolation patterns, and a negative correlation between the genetic diversity of A. zebra and the relative abundance of invasive salmonids. Main conclusions: Our study indicates that population structuring of A. zebra reflects the influence of historical patterns of migration, but also the current levels of reduced gene flow among watersheds. Invasive salmonids, known to compete with and prey on native galaxiids, may have had negative impacts on the genetic diversity of Aplochiton spp. The low genetic variation found in some populations, coupled with potential biases in abundance estimates due to species misidentification, highlight the urgent need for more research into the conservation status of the two species of Aplochiton. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source


Costello M.J.,University of Auckland | Vanhoorne B.,Flanders Marine Institute | Appeltans W.,Ocean Biogeographic Information System
Conservation Biology | Year: 2015

Taxonomy is the foundation of biodiversity science because it furthers discovery of new species. Globally, there have never been so many people involved in naming species new to science. The number of new marine species described per decade has never been greater. Nevertheless, it is estimated that tens of thousands of marine species, and hundreds of thousands of terrestrial species, are yet to be discovered; many of which may already be in specimen collections. However, naming species is only a first step in documenting knowledge about their biology, biogeography, and ecology. Considering the threats to biodiversity, new knowledge of existing species and discovery of undescribed species and their subsequent study are urgently required. To accelerate this research, we recommend, and cite examples of, more and better communication: use of collaborative online databases; easier access to knowledge and specimens; production of taxonomic revisions and species identification guides; engagement of nonspecialists; and international collaboration. "Data-sharing" should be abandoned in favor of mandated data publication by the conservation science community. Such a step requires support from peer reviewers, editors, journals, and conservation organizations. Online data publication infrastructures (e.g., Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Ocean Biogeographic Information System) illustrate gaps in biodiversity sampling and may provide common ground for long-term international collaboration between scientists and conservation organizations. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology. Source


Ghekiere A.,A.R.C.H.E | Verdonck F.,A.R.C.H.E | Claessens M.,Ghent University | Monteyne E.,Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models | And 5 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

The environmental risks of 33 micropollutants occurring in Belgian coastal zone were assessed as single-substances and as mixtures. Water and sediment samples were taken in harbors, coastal waters and the Scheldt estuary during 2007-2009. Measured environmental concentrations were compared to quality standards such as Predicted No Effect Concentrations (PNECs), Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs), and Ecotoxicological Assessment Criteria (EAC). Out of a total of 2547 samples analyzed, 232 and 126 samples exceeded the EQS and EAC, respectively. Highest risks were observed for TBT, PBDEs, PCBs and the PAHs anthracene, indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, and benzo(b)fluoranthene in the water compartment and for TBT and PCBs in the sediment compartment. Samples taken at all stations during the April 2008 campaign indicate a potential risk of the contaminant mixtures to the aquatic environment (except W06 station). This study argues the need to revise quality standards when appropriate and hence the overall regulatory implication of these standards. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Pascual M.,Tecnalia | Borja A.,Tecnalia | Eede S.V.,Ghent University | Deneudt K.,Flanders Marine Institute | And 3 more authors.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2011

Marine Biological Valuation (BV) has increased in importance in recent years, due to the need to establish accurate maps of biodiversity value. However, there have been few exercises undertaken in Southern Europe, in putting a value on marine biodiversity whilst at the same time looking at several biological components. This paper presents the complete Biological Valuation Map (BVM) of the Basque continental shelf and estuaries, using the methodology developed for the Belgian Continental Shelf. It includes all available biological data (zooplankton, macroalgae, macrobenthos, demersal fish, seabirds and cetaceans), from 2003 to 2010. BVMs aim to compile all available biological and ecological information for a selected study area, allocating an integrated intrinsic biological value to the subzones within the study area. Here, the results highlight specific areas (such as Jaizkibel or Cap Breton Canyon), as having high or very high integrated BV, using all of the components. Furthermore, some biodiversity 'hotspots' have been identified, according to a specific ecosystem component (e.g. mid-parts of the Oka estuary, for macroalgae, and the Cap Breton Canyon, for cetaceans). Comparison with the results obtained from other European countries, and with previously high-importance delimited zones within the study area, showed similar spatial trends and patterns. Therefore, the objectives of this contribution are: (i) to analyse and establish a spatial ecological value map of the continental shelf of the Basque Country (southern Bay of Biscay), using present BV methods; (ii) to compare the results obtained to other European countries, and (iii) to explore the application of these results to the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requirements. This map can serve as a baseline for future MSP and can also be used for the determination of the environmental status, within the MSFD, for the qualitative descriptor 1 (biodiversity). © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Veit-Kohler G.,Senckenberg Institute | de Troch M.,Ghent University | Grego M.,Slovenian National Institute of Biology | Bezerra T.N.,Ghent University | And 20 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2010

A large-scale database concerning benthic copepods from the Arctic, Baltic Sea, North Sea, British Isles, Adriatic Sea and Crete was compiled to assess species richness, biodiversity, communities, ecological range size and biogeographical patterns. The Adriatic showed the highest evenness and the most species-rich communities. Assemblages from the North Sea, British Isles, Baltic and Crete had a lower evenness. The British Isles were characterised by impoverished communities. The ecological specificity of copepod species showed two diverging trends: higher specificity of species in more diverse assemblages was observed in the Adriatic, North Sea and Baltic. A uniformly high species specificity disregarding sample diversity was found on Crete and in the British Isles. Benthic copepod communities showed distinct patterns that clearly fit the predefined geographical regions. Communities were distinguishable and β-diversity was found to be high around Europe, indicating a high species turnover on the scale of this investigation. The British Isles and the North Sea were found to be faunistic links to the Baltic and the Arctic. © Springer-Verlag 2010. Source

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