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Duarte C.M.,University of Western Australia | Fulweiler R.W.,Boston University | Lovelock C.E.,University of Queensland | Martinetto P.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | And 6 more authors.
BioScience | Year: 2015

The proliferation of a number of pressures affecting the ocean is leading to a growing concern that the state of the ocean is compromised, which is driving society into pessimism. Ocean calamities are disruptive changes to ocean ecosystems that have profound impacts and that are widespread or global in scope. However, scrutiny of ocean calamities to ensure that they can be confidently attributed to human drivers, operate at widespread or global scales, and cause severe disruptions of marine social-ecosystems shows that some of the problems fail to meet these requirements or that the evidence is equivocal. A number of biases internal and external to the scientific community contribute to perpetuating the perception of ocean calamities in the absence of robust evidence. An organized auditing of ocean calamities may deliver a more precise diagnosis of the status of the oceans, which may help to identify the most pressing problems that need be addressed to conserve a healthy ocean. © 2014 The Author(s). Source

Escapa M.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Perillo G.M.E.,Instituto Argentino Of Oceanografia | Iribarne O.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
Geomorphology | Year: 2015

Salt-marshes are under increasing threat, particularly from sea-level rise and increased wave action associated with climate change. The development and stability of these valuable habitats largely depend on complex interactions between biotic and abiotic processes operating at different scales. Also, interactions between biotic and abiotic processes drive internal morphological change in salt-marshes. In this paper we used a biogeomorphological approach to assess the impact of biological activities and interactions on salt pan formation in Sarcocornia-dominated salt marshes. Salt pans represent a key physiographic feature of salt-marshes and recent studies hypothesized that biogeomorphic processes could be related to salt pan formation in SW Atlantic salt-marshes. The glasswort Sarcocornia perennis is one of the dominant plants in the salt-marshes of the Bahía Blanca Estuary (Argentina) where they form patches up to 8m in diameter. These salt-marshes are also inhabited in great densities by the burrowing crab Neohelice (Chasmagnathus) granulata whose bioturbation rates are among the highest reported for salt-marshes worldwide. A set of biological interactions between N. granulata and S. perennis appears to be responsible for salt pan development in these areas which has not been described elsewhere. The main objective of this work was to determine the ecological interactions occurring between plants and crabs that lead to salt pan formation by using field-based sampling and manipulative experiments. Our results showed that S. perennis facilitated crab colonization of the salt-marsh by buffering otherwise stressful physical conditions (e.g., temperature, desiccation). Crabs preferred to construct burrows underneath plants and, once they reach high densities (up to 40 burrowsm-2), the sediment reworking caused plant die-off in the central area of patches. At this state, the patches lose elevation and become depressed due to the continuous bioturbation by crabs. Thus, salt pans are generated in this case by a set of biogeomorphic processes that include pure ecological interactions such as plant facilitation of crab settlement and also indirect negative effects of crabs on plant survival. Furthermore, crab bioturbation affects sediment structure due to concentration of burrowing activity under plant canopies promoting elevation loss and leading, after a few years, to salt pan formation in a previously vegetated substrate. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Garzon-Ferreira J.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Garzon-Ferreira J.,Brewster Academy | Rodriguez-Ramirez A.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras
Revista de Biologia Tropical | Year: 2010

Significant coral reef decline has been observed in Colombia during the last three decades. However, due to the lack of monitoring activities, most of the information about health and changes was fragmentary or inadequate. To develop an expanded nation-wide reef-monitoring program, in 1998 INVEMAR (Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras: "Colombian Institute of Marine and Coastal Research") designed and implemented SIMAC (Sistema Nacional de Monitoreo de Arrecifes Coralinos en Colombia: "National Monitoring System of Coral Reefs in Colombia") with the participation of other institutions. By the end of 2003 the SIMAC network reached more than twice its initial size, covering ten reef areas (seven in the Caribbean and three in the Pacific), 63 reef sites and 263 permanent transects. SIMAC monitoring continued without interruption until 2008 and should persist in the long-term. The SIMAC has a large database and consists basically of water quality measurements (temperature, salinity, turbidity) and a yearly estimation of benthic reef cover, coral disease prevalence, gorgonian density, abundance of important mobile invertebrates, fish diversity and abundance of important fish species. A methods manual is available in the internet. Data and results of SIMAC have been widely circulated through a summary report published annually since 2000 for the Colombian environmental agencies and the general public, as well as numerous national and international scientific papers and presentations at meetings. SIMAC information has contributed to support regional and global reef monitoring networks and databases (i.e. CARICOMP, GCRMN, ReefBase). Source

Fanjul E.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Escapa M.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Montemayor D.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Addino M.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Sea Research | Year: 2015

Organic matter (OM) remineralization plays a key role in controlling the biogeochemistry of marine sediments. Through their burrowing activities, bioturbating macrofauna not only induces physical, chemical and biological modifications, which can affect microbial communities responsible for organic matter remineralization, but it could also directly affect the distribution and bioavailability of sedimentary organic matter. Through in situ experiments manipulating crab and burrow density in intertidal soft-bottoms, we assessed if crab-bioturbation affects benthic metabolism, and the amount, distribution, and bioavailability of sedimentary OM. Crab-bioturbation enhanced overall benthic metabolism and benthic flux of dissolved OM toward the water column at both mudflat and saltmarsh zones. Moreover, our results revealed that bioturbation also changes the quality, bioavailability and distribution of sedimentary OM in mudflats and saltmarshes. Overall, bioturbation enhanced the proportion of labile organic carbon of bioturbated sediments and homogenized the sediment column in terms of their proportion of labile organic carbon. However, crabs also generated biogenic structures (e.g., mounds) that could promote spatial heterogeneity of high nutritional-value OM. Bioturbation-induced changes on benthic metabolism and on OM availability would result in a reduction of the storage capacity of carbon in our intertidal systems. Previous works indicated that crab-burrows trap detritus and OM-rich sediments. Our results suggest that detritus are efficiently remineralized at bioturbated sediment, and finally they are quickly exported to the water column as CO2 and DOC. Thus, crabs are modifying the OM processing at intertidal soft bottoms, and the ways in which carbon is exported to coastal waters. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Navas-Camacho R.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Gil-Agudelo D.L.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Rodriguez-Ramirez A.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | Reyes-Nivia M.C.,Institute Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras | And 2 more authors.
Revista de Biologia Tropical | Year: 2010

Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá). The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10x2m) with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters) are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2), and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2). Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD), and White Plague Disease (WPD) were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A.grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years) variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few long term monitoring studies on coral diseases worldwide. Source

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