Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES | Award Amount: 308.70K | Year: 2012

Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and provide livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people around the globe. At the basis of these ecosystems stands the symbiosis between cnidarians and dinoflagellates. How the coral holobiont with its cnidarian host, the dinoflagellate symbiont and the associated microbial community interact with each other and their environment and how this symbiosis reacts to perturbation is the focus of dynamic research worldwide. This project aims at establishing a multidisciplinary initiative to strengthen existing and establishing new collaborative connections between scientists in the field of coral research and to promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise. The proposed partners are at the forefront of coral research in their respective areas, from coral photobiology, photosynthesis regulation, the metabolism of the coral symbiosis and genomics approaches over photoacclimation patterns and coral bleaching to coral ecophysiology and biogeochemical processes. Some of the questions this team wants to address are: What are the effects of climate change on coral reef primary production, respiration and coral photo-physiology? How do photoacclimation patterns of corals influence bleaching potential? Is there more to coral bleaching than the physiological breakdown of the symbiosis? What are the ecological and biogeochemical consequences of phase shifts in coral reefs? Through the collaborative efforts within the SymbioCoRe project namely, workshops, seminars and staff exchanges to promote knowledge transfer, we will be able to contribute to a holistic understanding of these complex processes. This action will increase the skills and knowledge of all partners involved and will improve the position of the European Research Area in the global effort to develop better models of the host/symbiont relationship and to build effective approaches to better protect coral reefs and the associated ecosystems.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2013-1.5 | Award Amount: 3.36M | Year: 2013

The research and innovation landscape of the Pacific is extremely diverse, ranging from Pacific Island Countries and Territories with little or no ST&I capacity, Overseas Countries Territories with strong capacities, to New Zealand and Australia, which have numerous networks of research and innovation institutions. The EU, which maintains a long standing relationship with the Pacific, aims for enhancing its profile and reinforcing cooperation in ST&I with the region, in the perspective of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 Programme, and promote the development of mutually beneficial partnerships Considering the results of past and ongoing initiatives supporting the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, PACE-Net Plus will: - Support the EU-Pacific policy dialogue in ST&I, including dialogue on innovation issues. - Reinforce the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, focusing on 3 major societal challenges: 1) health, demographic change and wellbeing; 2) food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; and 3) climate action, resource use and efficiency, and raw materials; Encourage the coordination between the EU and Member States ST&I programmes and policies targeting the Pacific by promoting the implementation of joint actions. - Enhance the cooperation on innovation issues, by helping in bridging the gap between public and private sectors. The project will promote the idea of innovation as an essential mean for tackling global challenges and will respond to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and its Innovation Union Flagship Initiative. - Strengthen the Pacific-EU research cooperation partnerships, through the promotion of EC and MS&AC programmes, especially Horizon 2020, among Pacific research community, as well as the Pacific opportunities for European researchers.

Ibanez C.M.,University of Chile | Keyl F.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries | Year: 2010

Cannibalism refers to the action of consuming a member of the same species and is common in many taxa. This paper reviews the available literature on cannibalism in cephalopods. All species of the class Cephalopoda are predators and cannibalism is common in most species whose diet has been studied. Cannibalism in cephalopods is density-dependent due to their aggressive predatory and in case of the octopuses territorial nature. It also depends upon local and temporal food availability and of the reproductive season. Cannibalistic behaviour is positively related to the size of both cannibal and victim. It can affect population dynamics of cephalopods in periods of low food availability and/or high population abundance. Cephalopods are generally restricted in their ability to store energy. It is thus assumed that cannibalism is part of a population energy storage strategy enabling cephalopod populations to react to favourable and adverse environmental conditions by increasing and reducing their number. Finally, we propose five orientation points for future research on cannibalism in cephalopods. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

Arias Schreiber M.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Marine Policy | Year: 2012

Landings statistics of the Peruvian anchovy fishery show that the fishery went through a phase of explosive and uncontrolled growth from its establishment in the mid-fifties until its collapse in 1972. After the collapse, a second phase from 1973 to 1984 was characterized by unfavorable warm ocean conditions and low catches. A third phase, from 1984 to the present, with propitious ocean-environmental conditions and modern governance, can be further divided into a controlled growth period (1985-1994) and a sustainable landings' period (1995 to present). The most recent period of the third phase has enabled the fishery to maintain its catches and be labeled as one of the most sustainable fisheries worldwide. This article highlights the evolution of the legal system that provides for the current sustainable landings and governance of this fishery. Results show that General Fisheries Acts were enacted independently of failures to sustain anchovy landings. The three Peruvian Fisheries Acts were a reflection of broader national socio-political changes and were enacted mainly to define the role of the state and private investment and to delimit foreign involvement in the fishery industry. By contrast, the enactment of secondary legislation to control quotas and fishing seasons increased as the fishery moved towards stable landings. During this phase, enacted secondary legislation showed also a clear peak during strong positive sea surface anomalies driven by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) 1997-1998, providing evidence of rapid adaptive management. The role of Fisheries Acts in defining access rights at the national level from a multilevel governance approach is discussed and further key elements that contributed to the transition towards sustainability are suggested. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Manez K.S.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology | Ferse S.C.A.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

The Malayan term trepang describes a variety of edible holothurians commonly known as sea cucumbers. Although found in temperate and tropical marine waters all over the world, the centre of species diversity and abundance are the shallow coastal waters of Island Southeast Asia. For at least 300 years, trepang has been a highly priced commodity in the Chinese market. Originally, its fishing and trade was a specialized business, centred on the town of Makassar in South Sulawesi (Indonesia). The rise of trepang fishing in the 17th century added valuable export merchandize to the rich shallow seas surrounding the islands of Southeast Asia. This enabled local communities to become part of large trading networks and greatly supported their economic development. In this article, we follow Makassan trepang fishing and trading from its beginning until the industrialization of the fishery and worldwide depletion of sea cucumbers in the 20th century. Thereby, we identify a number of characteristics which trepang fishing shares with the exploitation of other marine resources, including (1) a strong influence of international markets, (2) the role of patron-client relationships which heavily influence the resource selection, and (3) the roving-bandit-syndrome, where fishermen exploit local stocks of valuable resources until they are depleted, and then move to another area. We suggest that understanding the similarities and differences between historical and recent exploitation of marine resources is an important step towards effective management solutions © Schwerdtner Máñez, Ferse.

Jessen C.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology | Wild C.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2013

One of the major threats facing coral reefs is intense benthic algal growth that can result in overgrowth and mass mortality of corals if not controlled by herbivore grazing. Unlike the well-studied coastlines of the Caribbean, there is currently a lack of knowledge regarding the effects of herbivory on benthic communities in the Red Sea. This is particularly relevant today as the local impacts in the Red Sea are increasing due to growing population and tourism. Over 4 mo, this study investigated the impact of herbivory as a potential key factor controlling algal growth on a reef flat in the Egyptian northern Red Sea. The main experiment consisted of in situ deployment of exclosure cages in combination with quantification of sea urchins and herbivorous fish. When all herbivores were excluded, our findings showed a significant 17-fold increase of algal dry mass within 4 mo. Although herbivorous fish occurred in much lower abundance (0.6 ± 0.1 ind. m-2; mean ± SE) compared to sea urchins (3.4 ± 0.2 ind. m-2), they were 5-fold more efficient in reducing algal dry mass and 22-fold more efficient in reducing autotrophic production of nitrogen. A significant shift from benthic turf to macroalgae (mostly Padina sp. and Hydroclathrus clathrathus) was observed when grazers were excluded. These algae may serve as early warning indicators for overfishing. Findings suggest that herbivorous fish act as an important top-down factor controlling both benthic algal biomass and composition at the study location. Results also indicate the potential of rapid benthic community change at the study site if herbivory is impeded. Copyright © 2013 Inter-Research.

Ferse S.C.A.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2010

Worldwide, coral reefs are degrading due to increasing anthropogenic pressures. Yet, management of reefs still falls short of effectively addressing these threats, and active restoration methods are increasingly being called for. Coral transplantation is frequently advocated as a possible means of coral reef rehabilitation. Fragments produced in coral nurseries or farms have been proposed as a potential source for transplantation, and culture media (inexpensive but non-durable materials such as wood or bamboo) may serve as transplantation substrate if placed directly in the reef. However, the performance of coral transplants attached to such substrates has not been examined yet. Here, the long-term survival of transplants attached to bamboo substrates is reported. A total of 6,164 fragments of 4 coral species (Acroporids and Pocilloporids) were monitored for up to 20 months at three sites in North Sulawesi/Indonesia. Bamboo failed as a suitable inexpensive substrate in at least two of the three sites examined. Mortality of transplants 2 years after transplantation was high in three of the four species (67-95%) and was partially linked to substrate disintegration. The results show that, in places were currents or waves threaten to dislocate transplants, a higher effort needs to be directed at a strong and durable attachment of transplanted corals. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

Arias Schreiber M.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Ecology and Society | Year: 2013

The term "commons" refers to collectively exploited resources and their systems of usage; a synonymous term is common pool resources. Fisheries are typical common pool resources and also one of the most conspicuous examples of unsustainable use of natural resources. We examine one of the few globally important fisheries that is held to be sustainable, the Peruvian anchovy fishery, and considers the extent to which the institutional characteristics of the fishery conform to design principles that are considered prerequisites for long-term, successful, community-based common pool resources. Results showed that greater conformity to the principles was found in the sustainable phase of the fishery, compared to its unsustainable phase. For this case study, the conditions that supported the transition towards sustainability were: clearly defined resource boundaries, monitoring of rule enforcement, and conflict resolution mechanisms among users and management authorities. On the other hand, clearly defined user boundaries, collective choice arrangements, and nested enterprises were not required to achieve sustainability. The study concludes that the design principles are a valuable tool for analysis and understanding of large-scale common pool resource systems. At the same time it suggests that the application of the principles to a wider range of systems can generate new insights into what is required for successful management of common pool resources. © 2013 by the author(s).

Jennerjahn T.C.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2012

Global climate and environmental change affect the biogeochemistry and ecology of aquatic systems mostly due to a combination of natural and anthropogenic factors. The latter became more and more important during the past few thousand years and particularly during the 'Anthropocene'. However, although they are considered important in this respect as yet much less is known from tropical than from high latitude coasts. Tropical coasts receive the majority of river inputs into the ocean, they harbor a variety of diverse ecosystems and a majority of the population lives there and economically depends on their natural resources. This review delineates the biogeochemical response of coastal systems to environmental change and the interplay of natural and anthropogenic control factors nowadays and in the recent geological past with an emphasis on tropical regions. Weathering rates are higher in low than in high latitude regions with a maximum in the SE Asia/Western Pacific region. On a global scale the net effect of increasing erosion due to deforestation and sediment retention behind dams is a reduced sediment input into the oceans during the Anthropocene. However, an increase was observed in the SE Asia/Western Pacific region. Nitrogen and phosphorus inputs into the ocean have trebled between the 1970s and 1990s due to human activities. As a consequence of increased nutrient inputs and a change in the nutrient mix excessive algal blooms and changes in the phytoplankton community composition towards non-biomineralizing species have been observed in many regions. This has implications for foodwebs and biogeochemical cycles of coastal seas including the release of greenhouse gases. Examples from tropical coasts with high population density and extensive agriculture, however, display deviations from temperate and subtropical regions in this respect. According to instrumental records and observations the present-day biogeochemical and ecological response to environmental change appears to be on the order of decades. A sediment record from the Brazilian continental margin spanning the past 85,000. years, however, depicts that the ecosystem response to changes in climate and hydrology can be on the order of 1000-2000. years. The coastal ocean carbon cycle is very sensitive to Anthropocene changes in land-derived carbon and nutrient fluxes and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. As opposing trends in high latitude regions tropical coastal seas display increasing organic matter inputs and reduced calcification rates which have important implications for calcifying organisms and the carbon source or sink function of the coastal ocean. Particularly coral reefs which are thriving in warm tropical waters are suffering from ocean acidification. Nevertheless, they are not affected uniformly and the sensitivity to ocean acidification may vary largely among coral reefs. Therefore, the prediction of future scenarios requires an improved understanding of present and past responses to environmental change with particular emphasis put on tropical regions. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

News Article | November 20, 2015
Site: news.yahoo.com

Tadpoles of many anuran species come in high numbers, but not many make it to adulthood. Here a group of common toad (Bufo bufo) tadpoles is seen from below. More What does the world look like to a tadpole? That's what one photographer recently asked before jumping into a canal to capture the baby amphibian's perspective on camera. The photo he took came out swimmingly, earning him first place in a photography competition hosted by the Royal Society, London. The man behind the pollywog photo is Bert Willaert, a biologist and environmental advisor in Belgium who has snapped thousands of photos of the natural world. But his favorite subjects are frogs, he said. "When I noticed these common toad tadpoles in the crystal clear canal, I wanted to capture the chance encounter from their perspective," Willaert said in a statement. ['Flying' Tadpoles & Baby Gorillas Win Prestigious Photo Contest (Photos)] Willaert's picture of a school of tadpoles outlined against the clear blue sky was one of more than 1,000 entries to the Royal Society Publishing Photography competition. The photo contest is a new event for the Royal Society, London, which is one of the oldest scientific societies in the world. The competition was created to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The world's longest-running scientific periodical, the Royal Society's journal has always featured images and drawings that, in many cases, illuminate complicated subjects better than words ever could. And the winning tadpole photo fits right in with this centuries-old journal, said Willaert, adding that he took the photo to relay a message to viewers. "To conserve the natural world, I think drawing attention to the beauty of these ordinary moments in our own neighborhoods, including our own backyards, is particularly important. I believe people will only conserve a thing when they know it exists — and how often will people have had snorkeled in their own garden pond?" he said. The tiny tadpoles are examples of the power that a common biological phenomenon can possess when it's "visualized in a new light," said Alex Badyaev, an acclaimed wildlife photographer and one of the judges of the competition. The larval frogs are particularly striking because they represent "the other half of the ecosystem, the half we usually miss when looking down at a tadpole's puddle, but one that is very much part of the tadpoles' own view," Badyaev said. The tadpole image won the overall competition, as well as the contest's Ecology and Environmental Science category. But other photos won top slots in the contest's additional categories. The first-place winner in the Animal Behavior category was Claudia Pogoreutz, a postgraduate student in the Department of Ecology at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology in Germany. Her photo of a black-tip reef shark hunting its prey highlights the synchronized swimming of the tropical clupeid fish, which inhabit the reef off the islands of the Republic of Maldives. The top slot in the Evolutionary Biology category was awarded to Ulrike Bauer, a researcher in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Bauer, who studies plant morphology and biomechanics, submitted a picture of the leaves of the water fern Salvinia molesta, which are covered in whisklike hairs that help keep the plant dry, even when it's submerged for weeks at a time. The three winning photos, as well as several runner-ups and judges' picks, will be displayed at a public event at the Royal Society, London, on Nov. 26. More information about the free event can be found on the Royal Society's website. Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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