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Guzman A.,Fundacion Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos | Stevenson P.R.,University of Los Andes, Colombia
Revista de Biologia Tropical | Year: 2011

Most studies on seed dispersal in time have focused on seed dormancy and the physiological triggers for germination. However, seed dispersed by animals with low metabolic and moving rates, and long gutpassage times such as terrestrial turtles, could be considered another type of dispersal in time. This study tests the hypothesis that seeds dispersed in time may lower predation rates. We predicted that seeds deposited below parent trees after fruiting fall has finished is advantageous to minimize seed predators and should show higher survival rates. Four Amazonian plant species, Dicranostyles ampla, Oenocarpus bataua, Guatteria atabapensis and Ocotea floribunda, were tested for seed survival probabilities in two periods: during fruiting and 10-21 days after fruiting. Experiments were carried out in two biological stations located in the Colombian Amazon (Caparú and Zafire Biological Stations). Seed predation was high and mainly caused by non-vertebrates. Out of the four plant species tested, only Guatteria atabapensis supported the time escape hypothesis. For this species, seed predation by vertebrates after the fruiting period increased (from 4.1% to 9.2%) while seed predation by nonvertebrates decreased (from 54.0% to 40.2%). In contrast, seed predation by vertebrates and by non-vertebrates after the fruiting period in D. ampla increased (from 7.9% to 22.8% and from 40.4% to 50.6%, respectively), suggesting predator satiation. Results suggest that for some species dispersal in time could be advantageous to avoid some type of seed predators. Escape in time could be an additional dimension in which seeds may reach adequate sites for recruitment. Thus, future studies should be address to better understand the survival advantages given by an endozoochory time-dispersal process. Source

Caballero S.,University of Los Andes, Colombia | Cardenosa D.,University of Los Andes, Colombia | Soler G.,Fundacion Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos | Hyde J.,Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Molecular Ecology Resources | Year: 2012

Here we describe the application of new and existing multiplex PCR methodologies for shark species molecular identification. Four multiplex systems (group ID, thresher sharks, hammerhead sharks and miscellaneous shark) were employed with primers previously described and some designed in this study, which allow for species identification after running PCR products through an agarose gel. This system was implemented for samples (bodies and fins) collected from unidentified sharks landed in the port of Buenaventura and from confiscated tissues obtained from illegal fishing around the Malpelo Island Marine Protected Area, Pacific Coast of Colombia. This method has allowed reliable identification, to date, of 407 samples to the genus and/or species levels, most of them (380) identified as the pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus). Another seven samples were identified as scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). This is an easy-to-implement and reliable identification method that could even be used locally to monitor shark captures in the main fishing ports of developed and developing countries. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Quintanilla S.,Pontifical Xavierian University | Gomez A.,Pontifical Xavierian University | Marino-Ramirez C.,Fundacion Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos | Sorzano C.,Fundacion Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Heredity | Year: 2015

Previous investigations of the population genetics of the scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in the Eastern Tropical Pacific have lacked information about nursery areas. Such areas are key to promoting conservation initiatives that can protect young sharks from threats such as overfishing. Here, we investigated the genetic diversity, phylogeography, and connectivity of S. lewini found in 3 areas of Colombia's Pacific coast: around Malpelo Island and in 2 National Natural Parks on the Colombian Pacific mainland (Sanquianga and Ensenada de Utría). We analyzed mtDNA control region (CR) sequences and genotyped 15 microsatellite loci in 137 samples of adults and juveniles. The mtDNA analyses showed haplotypes shared between the Colombian Pacific individuals sampled in this investigation and other areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, the Indo-Pacific, and with sequences previously reported in Colombia (Buenaventura Port), as well as 4 unique haplotypes. Population assignment and paternity analyses detected 3 parent-offspring pairs between Malpelo and Sanquianga and 1 between Malpelo and Utría. These results indicate high genetic connectivity between Malpelo Island and the Colombian Pacific coast, suggesting that these 2 areas are nurseries for S. lewini. This is, to our knowledge, the first evidence of nursery areas identified for the scalloped hammerhead shark anywhere in the world. Additional conservation planning may be required to protect these nursery habitats of this endangered shark species. © 2015 The American Genetic Association 2015. All rights reserved. Source

Narvaez K.,Fundacion Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos | Zapata F.A.,Aereo
Revista de Biologia Tropical | Year: 2010

The crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, is a major coral predator widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific region, where population outbreaks have caused dramatic impacts on coral reefs. In the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) A. planci occurs at low population densities; it has been significantly abundant only in Panama and Cocos Island. We have recently found two individuals of A. planci at Malpelo Island, a small oceanic island with significant coral communities located off the Colombian Pacific coast. The recent discovery of A. planci at Malpelo is significant in light of recent reports of its increased frequency of observation at Cocos Island and occurrence at the Galapagos Islands. The individuals found at Malpelo have been repeatedly sighted since 2004, actively feeding on nine species of coral. Although densities of A. planci are low at Malpelo and other oceanic islands of the TEP, these islands may act as stepping stones for the colonization of other coral reef areas in the region. However, the low densities of A. planci suggest that it currently poses no threat to coral reefs in the TEP. Source

Mora C.,Dalhousie University | Aburto-Oropeza O.,University of California at San Diego | Ayala-Bocos A.,Autonomous University of Baja California Sur | Ayotte P.M.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | And 62 more authors.
PLoS Biology | Year: 2011

Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a non-saturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs). Human effects were found to be related to fishing, coastal development, and land use stressors, and currently affect over 75% of the world's coral reefs. Our results indicate that the consequences of biodiversity loss in coral reefs have been considerably underestimated based on existing knowledge and that reef fish assemblages, particularly the most diverse, are greatly vulnerable to the expansion and intensity of anthropogenic stressors in coastal areas. © 2011 Mora et al. Source

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