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PubMed | IPMA, CNR Institute of Neuroscience, Brown University, University of Florida and 94 more.
Type: | Journal: GigaScience | Year: 2015

Ocean Sampling Day was initiated by the EU-funded Micro B3 (Marine Microbial Biodiversity, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology) project to obtain a snapshot of the marine microbial biodiversity and function of the worlds oceans. It is a simultaneous global mega-sequencing campaign aiming to generate the largest standardized microbial data set in a single day. This will be achievable only through the coordinated efforts of an Ocean Sampling Day Consortium, supportive partnerships and networks between sites. This commentary outlines the establishment, function and aims of the Consortium and describes our vision for a sustainable study of marine microbial communities and their embedded functional traits.


Costello M.J.,University of Auckland | Vanhoorne B.,Flanders Marine Institute | Appeltans W.,Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
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.


PubMed | University of Auckland, Flanders Marine Institute and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for 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.


Costello M.J.,University of Auckland | Bouchet P.,French Natural History Museum | Boxshall G.,Natural History Museum in London | Fauchald K.,Smithsonian Institution | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The World Register of Marine Species is an over 90% complete open-access inventory of all marine species names. Here we illustrate the scale of the problems with species names, synonyms, and their classification, and describe how WoRMS publishes online quality assured information on marine species. Within WoRMS, over 100 global, 12 regional and 4 thematic species databases are integrated with a common taxonomy. Over 240 editors from 133 institutions and 31 countries manage the content. To avoid duplication of effort, content is exchanged with 10 external databases. At present WoRMS contains 460,000 taxonomic names (from Kingdom to subspecies), 368,000 species level combinations of which 215,000 are currently accepted marine species names, and 26,000 related but non-marine species. Associated information includes 150,000 literature sources, 20,000 images, and locations of 44,000 specimens. Usage has grown linearly since its launch in 2007, with about 600,000 unique visitors to the website in 2011, and at least 90 organisations from 12 countries using WoRMS for their data management. By providing easy access to expert-validated content, WoRMS improves quality control in the use of species names, with consequent benefits to taxonomy, ecology, conservation and marine biodiversity research and management. The service manages information on species names that would otherwise be overly costly for individuals, and thus minimises errors in the application of nomenclature standards. WoRMS' content is expanding to include host-parasite relationships, additional literature sources, locations of specimens, images, distribution range, ecological, and biological data. Species are being categorised as introduced (alien, invasive), of conservation importance, and on other attributes. These developments have a multiplier effect on its potential as a resource for biodiversity research and management. As a consequence of WoRMS, we are witnessing improved communication within the scientific community, and anticipate increased taxonomic efficiency and quality control in marine biodiversity research and management. © 2013 Costello et al.


Rappe K.,Ghent University | Fockedey N.,Flanders Marine Institute | Van Colen C.,Ghent University | Cattrijsse A.,Flanders Marine Institute | And 2 more authors.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2011

The distribution and general population characteristics of five mysid shrimps were investigated in the period 2003-2005 in the Westerschelde estuary, a tidal temperate estuary situated along the Dutch-Belgian border. Multivariate analyses revealed that salinity predominantly governs the spatial distribution of Neomysis integer, Gastrosaccus spinifer, Schistomysis kervillei and Schistomysis spiritus while temperature, and to a lesser extent turbidity, control the distribution of Mesopodopsis slabberi. N. integer is a resident species in the mesohaline zone of the estuary, i.e. all life stages of the species are present in the estuary throughout the year. For the first time since decades N. integer inhabits the oligohaline zone of the estuary supposedly as a consequence of improved oxygen conditions in the upstream reaches. M. slabberi, the most abundant mysid in the Westerschelde, dominates the hyperbenthos of the mesohaline zone of the estuary. The polyhaline zone of the estuary is, most abundantly inhabited by M. slabberi, G. spinifer, S. kervillei and to a lesser extent by S. spiritus. The abundance of the latter four species is low in winter, probably due to a migration towards coastal waters to avoid colder temperatures in the estuary combined with an increased mortality after breeding. The sex ratio of all the mysid populations corresponds to the expected 1:1 female:male ratio and no salinity governed segregation is found between the different life stages of each mysid population. A seasonal variation exists in brood size in the N. integer population regardless of the body size, with a larger number of broods during winter and spring compared to the summer. In the other mysid populations the brood sizes vary only with the length of the ovigerous females.Our recent observations underline some general characteristics of mysid populations in the Westerschelde and provide novel insights in their life stage and sex specific population segregation, their brood sizes and the expanding upstream distribution of N. integer. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


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.


Ghekiere A.,ARCHE | Verdonck F.,ARCHE | 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.

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