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Tanaka K.,Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation | Taino S.,Kochi Prefectural Fishery Experiment Station | Haraguchi H.,Coastal Branch of Tottori Prefectural Museum | Prendergast G.,Education Board of Shimanto City | Hiraoka M.,Kochi University
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2012

To assess distributional shifts of species in response to recent warming, historical distribution records are the most requisite information. The surface seawater temperature (SST) of Kochi Prefecture, southwestern Japan on the western North Pacific, has significantly risen, being warmed by the Kuroshio Current. Past distributional records of subtidal canopy-forming seaweeds (Laminariales and Fucales) exist at about 10-year intervals from the 1970s, along with detailed SST datasets at several sites along Kochi's >700 km coastline. In order to provide a clear picture of distributional shifts of coastal marine organisms in response to warming SST, we observed the present distribution of seaweeds and analyzed the SST datasets to estimate spatiotemporal SST trends in this coastal region. We present a large increase of 0.3°C/decade in the annual mean SST of this area over the past 40 years. Furthermore, a comparison of the previous and present distributions clearly showed the contraction of temperate species' distributional ranges and expansion of tropical species' distributional ranges in the seaweeds. Although the main temperate kelp Ecklonia (Laminariales) had expanded their distribution during periods of cooler SST, they subsequently declined as the SST warmed. Notably, the warmest SST of the 1997-98 El Niño Southern Oscillation event was the most likely cause of a widespread destruction of the kelp populations; no recovery was found even in the present survey at the formerly habitable sites where warm SSTs have been maintained. Temperate Sargassum spp. (Fucales) that dominated widely in the 1970s also declined in accordance with recent warming SSTs. In contrast, the tropical species, S. ilicifolium, has gradually expanded its distribution to become the most conspicuously dominant among the present observations. Thermal gradients, mainly driven by the warming Kuroshio Current, are presented as an explanation for the successive changes in both temperate and tropical species' distributions. © 2012 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Shibata H.,Kitasato University | Miyake H.,Kitasato University | Goto T.,Iwate Fisheries Technology Center | Adachi A.,Enoshima Aquarium | And 2 more authors.
Plankton and Benthos Research | Year: 2015

Mass aggregations of Aurelia limbata have been reported along the Pacific coast of northern Japan, from spring to fall. The polyp stage is important for understanding the factors leading to mass occurrences of jellyfish, because polyps reproduce asexually and are responsible for the release of many ephyrae. Until the present report, the polyps of A. limbata had not been found in the wild and their ecology remained unknown. We found 18 polyps of A. limbata attached to two pieces of deep-sea debris, an aluminum beverage can and a plastic bottle, collected by bottom trawl at depths of 296 m and 392 m, respectively. Strobilation of the polyps was observed at 4°C without temperature change stimulation. This raises the possibility that strobilation occurs in low-temperature environments throughout the year. A large quantity of debris had sunk to the seafloor off the coast because of the tsunami tidal wave after the Great East Japan Earthquake, increasing the available substrate for A. limbata polyps. Additional ecological research on polyps and medusae in deep waters is necessary to predict future blooms of A. limbata. © The Plankton Society of Japan.

Toshino S.,Kitasato University | Toshino S.,Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation | Miyake H.,Kitasato University | Ohtsuka S.,Hiroshima University | And 5 more authors.
Evolution and Development | Year: 2015

Both sexes of the Japanese giant box jellyfish Morbakka virulenta were collected from the Seto Inland Sea, western Japan in December 2011, in order to observe the developmental processes from polyps to medusae. The medusa production in M. virulenta is up to now a unique process in cubozoans in that it exhibits a form of monodisc strobilation where the polyp is regenerated before the medusa detaches. This mode of medusa production was previously thought to be exclusive to scyphozoans. The general shape of young medusae resembles that of other cubozoans such as Alatina moseri and Copula sivickisi, but is differentiated from these by the short capitate tentacles and the lack of gastric filaments in the stomach. The unique medusa production of M. virulenta highly implies a phylogenetic similarity between cubozoans and scyphozoans. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Okubo N.,Keio University | Okubo N.,Kyoto University | Okubo N.,Australian National University | Okubo N.,Tokyo Keizai University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

A comprehensive understanding of coral reproduction and development is needed because corals are threatened in many ways by human activity. Major threats include the loss of their photosynthetic symbionts (Symbiodinium) caused by rising temperatures (bleaching), reduced ability to calcify caused by ocean acidification, increased storm severity associated with global climate change and an increase in predators caused by runoff from human agricultural activity. In spite of these threats, detailed descriptions of embryonic development are not available for many coral species. The current consensus is that there are two major groups of stony corals, the "complex" and the "robust". In this paper we describe the embryonic development of four "complex" species, Pseudosiderastrea tayamai, Galaxea fascicularis, Montipora hispida, and Pavona Decussata, and seven "robust" species, Oulastrea crispata, Platygyra contorta, Favites abdita, Echinophyllia aspera, Goniastrea favulus, Dipsastraea speciosa (previously Favia speciosa), and Phymastrea valenciennesi (previously Montastrea valenciennesi). Data from both histologically sectioned embryos and whole mounts are presented. One apparent difference between these two major groups is that before gastrulation the cells of the complex corals thus far described (mainly Acropora species) spread and flatten to produce the so-called prawn chip, which lacks a blastocoel. Our present broad survey of robust and complex corals reveals that prawn chip formation is not a synapomorphy of complex corals, as Pavona Decussata does not form a prawn chip and has a well-developed blastocoel. Although prawn chip formation cannot be used to separate the two clades, none of the robust corals which we surveyed has such a stage. Many robust coral embryos pass through two periods of invagination, separated by a return to a spherical shape. However, only the second of these periods is associated with endoderm formation. We have therefore termed the first invagination a pseudo-blastopore. © 2013 Okubo et al.

Taguchi T.,Kochi University | Mezaki T.,Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation | Iwase F.,Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation | Sekida S.,Kochi University | And 8 more authors.
Zoological Science | Year: 2014

We performed a molecular cytogenetic investigation of the scleractinian coral Acropora solitaryensis, which is dominant in the temperate region of Japan (30-35°N). Molecular cytogenetic analysis, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), was carried out for karyotyping and gene mapping. We propose the karyotype of this coral (2n = 30) based on C-banding and FISH analyses. FISH mapping of the rRNA gene was carried out with a probe generated by PCR amplification using rRNA gene primers. Furthermore, the telomeres and centromeres of all chromosomes were visualized using FISH. By comparative genomic hybridization using DNA from sperm and unfertilized eggs of this coral, we offer evidence suggesting the existence of sex chromosomes in this species. Collectively, these data advance our understanding of coral genetics. © 2014 Zoological Society of Japan.

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