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Gras R.,University of Windsor | Gras R.,Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research | Golestani A.,University of Windsor | Hendry A.P.,McGill University | Cristescu M.E.,McGill University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The forces promoting and constraining speciation are often studied in theoretical models because the process is hard to observe, replicate, and manipulate in real organisms. Most models analyzed to date include pre-defined functions influencing fitness, leaving open the question of how speciation might proceed without these built-in determinants. To consider the process of speciation without pre-defined functions, we employ the individual-based ecosystem simulation platform EcoSim. The environment is initially uniform across space, and an evolving behavioural model then determines how prey consume resources and how predators consume prey. Simulations including natural selection (i.e., an evolving behavioural model that influences survival and reproduction) frequently led to strong and distinct phenotypic/genotypic clusters between which hybridization was low. This speciation was the result of divergence between spatially-localized clusters in the behavioural model, an emergent property of evolving ecological interactions. By contrast, simulations without natural selection (i.e., behavioural model turned off) but with spatial isolation (i.e., limited dispersal) produced weaker and overlapping clusters. Simulations without natural selection or spatial isolation (i.e., behaviour model turned off and high dispersal) did not generate clusters. These results confirm the role of natural selection in speciation by showing its importance even in the absence of pre-defined fitness functions. © 2015 Gras et al.


Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Dibattista J.D.,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology | Kessel S.T.,Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research | Hendry A.P.,McGill University | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2014

Sharks are a globally threatened group of marine fishes that often breed in their natal region of origin. There has even been speculation that female sharks return to their exact birthplace to breed ('natal philopatry'), which would have important conservation implications. Genetic profiling of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) from 20 consecutive cohorts (1993-2012) at Bimini, Bahamas, showed that certain females faithfully gave birth at this site for nearly two decades. At least six females born in the 1993-1997 cohorts returned to give birth 14-17 years later, providing the first direct evidence of natal philopatry in the chondrichthyans. Long-term fidelity to specific nursery sites coupled with natal philopatry highlights the merits of emerging spatial and local conservation efforts for these threatened predators. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Espinoza M.,University of Costa Rica | Munroe S.E.M.,James Cook University | Clarke T.M.,University of Costa Rica | Fisk A.T.,Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research | Wehrtmann I.S.,University of Costa Rica
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2015

Knowledge of the feeding ecology and trophic interactions of marine species is essential to understanding food web dynamics and developing ecosystem-based management approaches. Given that many top predatory fishes have experienced large population declines from coastal ecosystems, it is critical to understand the role of smaller, mesopredators in coastal food webs. This study used stomach content (SCA) and stable isotope analyses (SIA) of muscle tissue (δ13C, δ15N) to examine the feeding ecology of four common demersal elasmobranchs (Mustelus henlei, Raja velezi, Zapteryx xyster and Torpedo peruana) from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Central America. Specifically, we investigated: (i) size- and sex-related changes in diet; (ii) dietary changes between seasons; (iii) dietary changes across depth and latitudinal gradients; and (iv) the degree of diet overlap among species. SCA showed that M. henlei, R. velezi and Z. xyster were feeding on a wide range of teleost and decapod species, whereas teleosts dominated the diet of T. peruana. Torpedo peruana had a lower prey diversity and dietary breath than the other species. Interestingly, SIA revealed a significantly larger isotopic niche breath in Z. xyster, indicating that SIA can provide a broader perspective of diet than SCA. Both SCA and SIA showed relatively low dietary overlap among species, except between R. velezi and Z. xyster which have a similar size, mouth morphology and potentially feeding behaviour. Latitude and size were identified as important drivers of the feeding ecology of elasmobranchs; however, their effect varied considerably among species and was often influenced by other factors such as sex and depth. Season had little influence on elasmobranch diet, but our data suggested that isotopic baseline values differ between geographic regions due to differences in local biogeochemical processes and/or prey availability, and possibly in response to seasonal nutrient fluctuations. This may also indicate that some of these elasmobranchs tend to use more localized habitats along the coast. The present study increased our understanding of the feeding ecology of common demersal elasmobranch species. Moreover, trophic information of elasmobranchs provided an important baseline record to understanding how trawling fisheries may impact demersal ecosystems in Costa Rica and the Central American region. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Nelson C.,British Columbia Ministry of forests | Drouillard K.,Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research | Cheng K.,University of British Columbia | Elliott J.,Environment Canada | Ismail N.,Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research
Chemosphere | Year: 2015

River otter scat samples (n=77) and blood samples (n=16) collected through non-invasive field collections and live-capture activities (November 2009 to October 2010) along the coastline of Southern Vancouver Island, near Victoria, British Columbia (BC) were analyzed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). ∑PBDEs were highest in urbanized regions of Victoria Harbour for blood (1.12μg/g lipid weight) and scat (0.35μg/g lipid weight). A location effect between zones was confirmed statistically for blood but not for scat. Specific congeners with the highest concentrations overall were BDE-47 in blood samples (0.37μg/g lipid weight) and BDE-206 (0.18μg/g lipid weight) and BDE-47 (0.16μg/g lipid weight) in scat samples. There was also an unusual finding of extremely high levels of BDE-209 in 2 scat samples (163 and 956μg/g lipid weight). The patterns of select congeners (BDE 47, 99, 100, 153, 154) measured in blood and scat were found not to be significantly different (Chi-square Test, X2=21.08, DF=4, p=0003). The most prominent congeners within Victoria Harbour were BDE-47 for both blood (0.82mg/kg lipid weight) and scat (0.26mg/kg lipid weight) followed by BDE-206 (0.18μg/g lipid weight) and BDE-207 (0.10μg/g lipid weight) for scat only. Comparable levels of BDE-47 were reported across the study area whereas BDE 206 and 207 were only observed in Victoria Harbour (scat). Toxicological effects of PBDEs in rivers otters from Victoria, BC are still unknown however the predominance of BDE-47 could have negative implication as an endocrine disruptor. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


News Article | March 11, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

They come from the West Coast, as far south as California, as north as Alaska, and as east as the Atlantic coast. Their joint letter refers to “Misrepresentation,” “lack of information,” and “Disregard for science that was not funded by the proponent.” Scientists condemn the flawed review process for Lelu Island, at the mouth of British Columbia’s Skeena River, as “a symbol of what is wrong with environmental decision-making in Canada.” More than 130 scientists signed on to this letter. “This letter is not about being for or against LNG, the letter is about scientific integrity in decision-making,” said Dr. Jonathan Moore, Liber Ero Chair of Coastal Science and Management, Simon Fraser University. One of the other signatories is Otto Langer, former Chief of Habitat Assessment at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), who wrote: These are tough words for a Federal government that promised to put teeth back in the gutted environmental review process. In Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s defense, this is yet another problem he inherited from the previous administration, and the task of cleaning up this mess seems enormous. That said, this government was aware the environmental review process was broken before it was elected and has not intervened to at least stop the process from moving forward until it is prepared to take action. The Liberal Government appears to be facing a tough decision. So far, it has attempted to work with the provinces. On Lelu Island, as well as the equally controversial proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline  expansion and Site C Dam project, continuing to support Premier Clak’s policies in this manner would appear to necessitate betraying the trust of the Canadian people. Here are a few choice excerpts from the public letter that more than 130 scientists sent to Catherine McKenna and Prime Minister Trudeau: ” … The CEAA draft report has not accurately characterized the importance of the project area, the Flora Bank region, for fish. The draft CEAA report1 states that the “…marine habitats around Lelu Island are representative of marine ecosystems throughout the north coast of B.C.”. In contrast, five decades of science has repeatedly documented that this habitat is NOT representative of other areas along the north coast or in the greater Skeena River estuary, but rather that it is exceptional nursery habitat for salmon2-6 that support commercial, recreational, and First Nation fisheries from throughout the Skeena River watershed and beyond7. A worse location is unlikely to be found for PNW LNG with regards to potential risks to fish and fisheries….” ” … CEAA’s draft report concluded that the project is not likely to cause adverse effects on fish in the estuarine environment, even when their only evidence for some species was an absence of information. For example, eulachon, a fish of paramount importance to First Nations and a Species of Special Concern8, likely use the Skeena River estuary and project area during their larval, juvenile, and adult life-stages. There has been no systematic study of eulachon in the project area. Yet CEAA concluded that the project posed minimal risks to this fish…” ” … CEAA’s draft report is not a balanced consideration of the best-available science. On the contrary, CEAA relied upon conclusions presented in proponent-funded studies which have not been subjected to independent peer-review and disregarded a large and growing body of relevant independent scientific research, much of it peer-reviewed and published…” ” …The PNW LNG project presents many different potential risks to the Skeena River estuary and its fish, including, but not limited to, destruction of shoreline habitat, acid rain, accidental spills of fuel and other contaminants, dispersal of contaminated sediments, chronic and acute sound, seafloor destruction by dredging the gas pipeline into the ocean floor, and the erosion and food-web disruption from the trestle structure. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Natural Resources Canada provided detailed reviews12 on only one risk pathway – habitat erosion – while no such detailed reviews were conducted on other potential impacts or their cumulative effects…” ” … CEAA’s draft report concluded that the project posed moderate risks to marine fish but that these risks could be mitigated. However, the proponent has not fully developed their mitigation plans and the plans that they have outlined are scientifically dubious. For example, the draft assessment states that destroyed salmon habitat will be mitigated; the “proponent identified 90 000 m2 of lower productivity habitats within five potential offsetting sites that could be modified to increase the productivity of fisheries”, when in fact, the proponent did not present data on productivity of Skeena Estuary habitats for fish at any point in the CEAA process. Without understanding relationships between fish and habitat, the proposed mitigation could actually cause additional damage to fishes of the Skeena River estuary…” British Columbia Institute of Technology 1. Marvin Rosenau, Ph.D., Professor, British Columbia Institute of Technology. 2. Eric M. Anderson, Ph.D., Faculty, British Columbia Institute of Technology. British Columbia Ministry of Environment 1. R. S. Hooton, M.Sc., Former Senior Fisheries Management Authority for British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Skeena Region. California Academy of Sciences 1. John E. McCosker, Ph.D., Chair of Aquatic Biology, Emeritus, California Academy of Sciences. Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada 1. Otto E. Langer, M.Sc., R.P.Bio., Fisheries Biologist, Former Chief of Habitat Assessment, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Memorial University of Newfoundland 1. Ian A. Fleming, Ph.D., Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland. 2. Brett Favaro, Ph.D., Liber Ero conservation fellow, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Norwegian Institute for Nature Research 1. Rachel Malison, Ph.D., Marie Curie Fellow and Research Ecologist, The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. Russian Academy of Science 1. Alexander I. Vedenev, Ph.D., Head of Ocean Noise Laboratory, Russian Academy of Science 2. Victor Afanasiev, Ph.D., Russian Academy of Sciences. Sakhalin Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography 1. Alexander Shubin, M.Sc. Fisheries Biologist, Sakhalin Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography. Simon Fraser University, BC 1. Jonathan W. Moore, Ph.D., Liber Ero Chair of Coastal Science and Management, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University. 2. Randall M. Peterman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus and Former Canada Research Chair in Fisheries Risk Assessment and Management, Simon Fraser University. 3. John D. Reynolds, Ph.D., Tom Buell BC Leadership Chair in Salmon Conservation, Professor, Simon Fraser University 4. Richard D. Routledge, Ph.D., Professor, Simon Fraser University. 5. Evelyn Pinkerton, Ph.D., School of Resource and Environmental Management, Professor, Simon Fraser University. 6. Dana Lepofsky, Ph.D., Professor, Simon Fraser University 7. Nicholas Dulvy, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Professor, Simon Fraser University. 8. Ken Lertzman, Ph.D., Professor, Simon Fraser University. 9. Isabelle M. Côté, Ph.D., Professor, Simon Fraser University. 10. Brendan Connors, Ph.D., Senior Systems Ecologist, ESSA Technologies Ltd., Adjunct Professor, Simon Fraser University. 11. Lawrence Dill, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University. 12. Patricia Gallaugher, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Simon Fraser University. 13. Anne Salomon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University. 14. Arne Mooers, Ph.D., Professor, Simon Fraser University. 15. Lynne M. Quarmby, Ph.D., Professor, Simon Fraser University. 16. Wendy J. Palen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University. University of Alaska 1. Peter Westley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Fisheries, University of Alaska Fairbanks. 2. Anne Beaudreau, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Fisheries, University of Alaska Fairbanks. 3. Megan V. McPhee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks. University of Alberta 1. David.W. Schindler, Ph.D., Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology Emeritus, University of Alberta. 2. Suzanne Bayley, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, University of Alberta. University of British Columbia 1. John G. Stockner, Ph.D., Emeritus Senior Scientist DFO, West Vancouver Laboratory, Adjuct Professor, University of British Columbia. 2. Kai M.A. Chan, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia 3. Hadi Dowlatabadi, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics and Integrated Assessment of Global Change, Professor, University of British Columbia 4. Sarah P. Otto, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia. 5. Michael Doebeli, Ph.D., Professor, University of British Columbia. 6. Charles J. Krebs, Ph.D., Professor, University of British Columbia. 7. Amanda Vincent, Ph.D., Professor, University of British Columbia. 8. Michael Healey, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia. University of California (various campuses) 1. Mary E. Power, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Berkeley 2. Peter B. Moyle, Ph.D., Professor, University of California. 3. Heather Tallis, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz. 4. James A. Estes, Ph.D., Professor, University of California. 5. Eric P. Palkovacs, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of California-Santa Cruz. 6. Justin D. Yeakel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of California. 7. John L. Largier, Ph.D., Professor, University of California Davis. University of Montana 1. Jack A. Stanford, Ph.D., Professor of Ecology, University of Montana. 2. Andrew Whiteley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Montana. 3. F. Richard Hauer, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Center for Integrated Research on the Environment, University of Montana. University of New Brunswick 1. Richard A. Cunjak, Ph.D., Professor, University of New Brunswick. University of Ontario Institute of Technology 1. Douglas A. Holdway, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Toxicology, Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology. University of Ottawa 1. Jeremy Kerr, Ph.D., University Research Chair in Macroecology and Conservation, Professor, University of Ottawa University of Toronto 1. Martin Krkosek, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Toronto. Gail McCabe, Ph.D., University of Toronto. University of Victoria 1. Chris T. Darimont, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Victoria 2. John Volpe, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Victoria. 3. Aerin Jacob, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Victoria. 4. Briony E.H. Penn, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria. 5. Natalie Ban, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria. 6. Travis G. Gerwing, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Victoria. 7. Eric Higgs, Ph.D., Professor, University of Victoria. 8. Paul C. Paquet, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria. 9. James K. Rowe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Victoria. University of Washington 1. Charles Simenstad, Ph.D., Professor, University of Washington. 2. Daniel Schindler, Ph.D., Harriet Bullitt Endowed Chair in Conservation, Professor, University of Washington. 3. Julian D. Olden, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Washington. 4. P. Sean McDonald, Ph.D., Research Scientist, University of Washington. 5. Tessa Francis, Ph.D., Research Scientist, University of Washington. University of Windsor 1. Hugh MacIsaac, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, Professor, University of Windsor. Photo Credits: 9 of the scientist condemning the CEAA review are professors at the University of Victoria. Photo shows U Vic students listening to a UN official in 2012 by Herb Neufeld via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); Screen shot from a Liberal campaign video in which Trudeau promised to bring real change to Ottawa;8 of the scientist condemning the CEAA review are professors at the University of British Columbia. Photo of UBC by abdallahh via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License);5 of the scientists condemning the CEAA review are from the University of Washington. Photo is Mary Gates Hall, in the University of Washington by PRONam-ho Park Follow via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License);5 of the scientists condemning the CEAA review are from the Skeena Fisheries Commission. Photo is Coast mountains near the mouth of the Skeena River by Roy Luck via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License);16 of the scientists condemning the CEAA review were professors at Simon Fraser University. Photo shows SFU’s Reflective Pool by Jon the Happy Web Creative via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

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