Charleston, United States
Charleston, United States

Time filter

Source Type

Vollmer N.L.,University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Vollmer N.L.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Viricel A.,University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Viricel A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 3 more authors.
Current Genetics | Year: 2011

In population genetics and phylogenetic studies, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is commonly used for examining differences both between and within groups of individuals. For these studies, correct interpretation of every nucleotide position is crucial but can be complicated by the presence of ambiguous bases resulting from heteroplasmy. Particularly for non-model taxa, the presence of heteroplasmy in mtDNA is rarely reported, therefore, it is unclear how commonly it occurs and how it can affect phylogenetic relationships among taxa and the overall understanding of evolutionary processes. We examined the occurrence of both site and length heteroplasmy within the mtDNA of ten marine mammal species, for most of which mtDNA heteroplasmy has never been reported. After sequencing a portion of the mtDNA control region for 5,062 individuals, we found heteroplasmy in at least 2% of individuals from seven species, including Stenella frontalis where 58.9% were heteroplasmic. We verified the presence of true heteroplasmy, ruling out artifacts from amplification and sequencing methods and the presence of nuclear copies of mitochondrial genes. We found no evidence that mtDNA heteroplasmy influenced phylogenetic relationships, however, its occurrence does have the potential to increase the genetic diversity for all species in which it is found. This study stresses the importance of both detecting and reporting the occurrence of heteroplasmy in wild populations in order to enhance the knowledge of both the introduction and the persistence of mutant mitochondrial haplotypes in the evolutionary process. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

In movies and TV shows, dolphins are often portrayed as heroes who save humans through remarkable feats of strength and tenacity. Now dolphins could save the day for humans in real life, too - with the help of emerging technology that can measure thousands of proteins and an improved database full of genetic data. "Dolphins and humans are very, very similar creatures," said NIST's Ben Neely, a member of the Marine Biochemical Sciences Group and the lead on a new project at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, a research facility in Charleston, South Carolina that includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as one of its partner institutions. "As mammals, we share a number of proteins and our bodies function in many similar ways, even though we are terrestrial and dolphins live in the water all their lives." Neely and his colleagues have just finished creating a detailed, searchable index of all the proteins found in the bottlenose dolphin genome. A genome is the complete set of genetic material present in an organism. Neely's project is built on years of marine mammal research and aims to provide a new level of bioanalytical measurements. The results of this work will aid wildlife biologists, veterinary professionals and biomedical researchers. Protein Maps Could Help Dolphins and Humans Although a detailed map of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) genome was first compiled in 2008, recent technological breakthroughs enabled the creation of a new, more exhaustive map of all of the proteins produced by the dolphins' DNA. Neely led the process to generate the new genome with the help of colleagues at the Hollings Marine Laboratory. For this project, the initial genomic sequencing and assembly were completed by Dovetail Genomics, a private U.S.-based company. Next, the genome was annotated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) using previously deposited data generated in large part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Marine Genomics Core. "Once you can identify all of the proteins and know their amounts as expressed by the genome," Neely explained, "you can figure out what's going on in the bottlenose dolphin's biological systems in this really detailed manner." Neely's study is part of an emerging field called proteomics. In the case of dolphins, proteomic work has a wide variety of potential applications. The zoo and aquarium industry, which generates revenues of approximately $16 billion a year, could use it to improve the care of bottlenose dolphins. In addition, improved dolphin proteomics could improve assessments of wild dolphin populations, and provide an immense amount of data on environmental contaminants and the safety and health of the world's oceanic food web. Comparing the proteins of humans and these other mammals is already providing researchers with a wealth of new information about how the human body works. Those findings could eventually be used to develop new, more precise treatment methods for common medical problems. As marine mammals descend, they shut off the blood flow to many of their organs, which has long puzzled and intrigued biologists. In contrast, if blood stops flowing to the organs of a human's body for even a few seconds, the result can be a stroke, kidney failure, or even death. Studies have recently revealed that lesser-known proteins in the blood of marine mammals may be playing a big role in the dives by protecting bottlenose dolphins' kidneys and hearts from damage when blood flow and oxygen flow start and stop repeatedly during those underwater forays. One of these proteins is known as vanin-1. Humans produce vanin-1, but in much smaller amounts. Researchers would like to gather more information on whether or not elevating levels of vanin-1 may offer protection to kidneys. "There's this gap in the knowledge about genes and the proteins they make. We are missing a huge piece of the puzzle in how these animals do what they do," said Mike Janech from the Medical University of South Carolina. His group has been researching vanin-1 (link is external) and has identified numerous other potential biomedical applications for the dolphin genome just created by NIST. "Genes carry the information of life," Janech said. "But proteins execute the functions." Vanin-1 is just one example of how genomic information about this mammalian cousin might prove useful. There may be hundreds of other similar applications, including some related to the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes. This represents another avenue for biomimicry, which seeks solutions to human problems by examining and imitating nature's patterns and strategies. In the past, biomimicry was solely focused on the structural aspects of animal body parts such as arms and legs or functional patterns of things like noses and sniffing. But as the study of DNA has evolved, so too has our ability to examine the things happening at the most minute levels within another mammal's body. "We are now entering what could be called the post-model-organism era," Neely said. Instead of looking only for a structure to model, imitate or learn from, scientists are looking at the complete molecular landscape of genes and proteins of these creatures for model processes, too. "With abundant genomic resources it is now possible to study non-model organisms with similar molecular machinery in order to tackle difficult biomedical problems." To gather the needed protein information, Neely and his team used a specimen provided by the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank (link is external) (NMMTB), the longest running project of NIST's Marine Environmental Specimen Bank. Half of the approximately 4,000 marine mammal specimens in the NMMTB are collected as a part of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (link is external). The specimen provided for Neely's study was known to originate very close to the Hollings Marine Lab. The new, state-of-the-art genome immediately began providing new biochemical insights. Studies at NIST are ongoing to validate the updated protein maps using an ultra-high-resolution tribrid mass spectrometer, which is the most powerful tool available to identify and quantify proteins. Other Mammal Proteins Seem Promising, Too Neely said the results demonstrate the utility of re-mapping genomes with the improved bioanalytical capabilities provided by new genomic sequencing technology coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometers. The data from this project will also be available in the public domain so that the results will be easy for others to access and use for diverse applications and research. This is the first of many such projects to be undertaken by the Charleston group whereby new analytical techniques could be applied to marine animals. Studying other diving marine mammals can improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in diving. Also, sea lion proteins may have much to tell us about metastatic cancer, which especially intrigues Neely and his colleagues. As a research chemist, Neely says he has not really spent much time before now observing marine mammals as a part of his work hours. He does encounter dolphins when he goes out surfing along the Carolina coastline, though. "It's amazing to think that we are at a point where cutting-edge research in marine mammals can directly advance human biomedical discoveries," he said.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In movies and TV shows, dolphins are often portrayed as heroes who save humans through remarkable feats of strength and tenacity. Now dolphins could save the day for humans in real life, too - with the help of emerging technology that can measure thousands of proteins and an improved database full of genetic data. "Dolphins and humans are very, very similar creatures," said NIST's Ben Neely, a member of the Marine Biochemical Sciences Group and the lead on a new project at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, a research facility in Charleston, South Carolina that includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as one of its partner institutions. "As mammals, we share a number of proteins and our bodies function in many similar ways, even though we are terrestrial and dolphins live in the water all their lives." Neely and his colleagues have just finished creating a detailed, searchable index of all the proteins found in the bottlenose dolphin genome. A genome is the complete set of genetic material present in an organism. Neely's project is built on years of marine mammal research and aims to provide a new level of bioanalytical measurements. The results of this work will aid wildlife biologists, veterinary professionals and biomedical researchers. Although a detailed map of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) genome was first compiled in 2008, recent technological breakthroughs enabled the creation of a new, more exhaustive map of all of the proteins produced by the dolphins' DNA. Neely led the process to generate the new genome with the help of colleagues at the Hollings Marine Laboratory. For this project, the initial genomic sequencing and assembly were completed by Dovetail Genomics, a private U.S.-based company. Next, the genome was annotated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) using previously deposited data generated in large part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Marine Genomics Core. "Once you can identify all of the proteins and know their amounts as expressed by the genome," Neely explained, "you can figure out what's going on in the bottlenose dolphin's biological systems in this really detailed manner." Neely's study is part of an emerging field called proteomics. In the case of dolphins, proteomic work has a wide variety of potential applications. The zoo and aquarium industry, which generates revenues of approximately $16 billion a year, could use it to improve the care of bottlenose dolphins. In addition, improved dolphin proteomics could improve assessments of wild dolphin populations, and provide an immense amount of data on environmental contaminants and the safety and health of the world's oceanic food web. Comparing the proteins of humans and these other mammals is already providing researchers with a wealth of new information about how the human body works. Those findings could eventually be used to develop new, more precise treatment methods for common medical problems. As marine mammals descend, they shut off the blood flow to many of their organs, which has long puzzled and intrigued biologists. In contrast, if blood stops flowing to the organs of a human's body for even a few seconds, the result can be a stroke, kidney failure, or even death. Studies have recently revealed that lesser-known proteins in the blood of marine mammals may be playing a big role in the dives by protecting bottlenose dolphins' kidneys and hearts from damage when blood flow and oxygen flow start and stop repeatedly during those underwater forays. One of these proteins is known as vanin-1. Humans produce vanin-1, but in much smaller amounts. Researchers would like to gather more information on whether or not elevating levels of vanin-1 may offer protection to kidneys. "There's this gap in the knowledge about genes and the proteins they make. We are missing a huge piece of the puzzle in how these animals do what they do," said Mike Janech from the Medical University of South Carolina. His group has been researching vanin-1 (link is external) and has identified numerous other potential biomedical applications for the dolphin genome just created by NIST. "Genes carry the information of life," Janech said. "But proteins execute the functions." Vanin-1 is just one example of how genomic information about this mammalian cousin might prove useful. There may be hundreds of other similar applications, including some related to the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes. This represents another avenue for biomimicry, which seeks solutions to human problems by examining and imitating nature's patterns and strategies. In the past, biomimicry was solely focused on the structural aspects of animal body parts such as arms and legs or functional patterns of things like noses and sniffing. But as the study of DNA has evolved, so too has our ability to examine the things happening at the most minute levels within another mammal's body. "We are now entering what could be called the post-model-organism era," Neely said. Instead of looking only for a structure to model, imitate or learn from, scientists are looking at the complete molecular landscape of genes and proteins of these creatures for model processes, too. "With abundant genomic resources it is now possible to study non-model organisms with similar molecular machinery in order to tackle difficult biomedical problems." To gather the needed protein information, Neely and his team used a specimen provided by the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank (link is external) (NMMTB), the longest running project of NIST's Marine Environmental Specimen Bank. Half of the approximately 4,000 marine mammal specimens in the NMMTB are collected as a part of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (link is external). The specimen provided for Neely's study was known to originate very close to the Hollings Marine Lab. The new, state-of-the-art genome immediately began providing new biochemical insights. Studies at NIST are ongoing to validate the updated protein maps using an ultra-high-resolution tribrid mass spectrometer, which is the most powerful tool available to identify and quantify proteins. Neely said the results demonstrate the utility of re-mapping genomes with the improved bioanalytical capabilities provided by new genomic sequencing technology coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometers. The data from this project will also be available in the public domain so that the results will be easy for others to access and use for diverse applications and research. This is the first of many such projects to be undertaken by the Charleston group whereby new analytical techniques could be applied to marine animals. Studying other diving marine mammals can improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in diving. Also, sea lion proteins may have much to tell us about metastatic cancer, which especially intrigues Neely and his colleagues. As a research chemist, Neely says he has not really spent much time before now observing marine mammals as a part of his work hours. He does encounter dolphins when he goes out surfing along the Carolina coastline, though. "It's amazing to think that we are at a point where cutting-edge research in marine mammals can directly advance human biomedical discoveries," he said.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: phys.org

"Dolphins and humans are very, very similar creatures," said NIST's Ben Neely, a member of the Marine Biochemical Sciences Group and the lead on a new project at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, a research facility in Charleston, South Carolina that includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as one of its partner institutions. "As mammals, we share a number of proteins and our bodies function in many similar ways, even though we are terrestrial and dolphins live in the water all their lives." Neely and his colleagues have just finished creating a detailed, searchable index of all the proteins found in the bottlenose dolphin genome. A genome is the complete set of genetic material present in an organism. Neely's project is built on years of marine mammal research and aims to provide a new level of bioanalytical measurements. The results of this work will aid wildlife biologists, veterinary professionals and biomedical researchers. Protein Maps Could Help Dolphins and Humans Although a detailed map of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) genome was first compiled in 2008, recent technological breakthroughs enabled the creation of a new, more exhaustive map of all of the proteins produced by the dolphins' DNA. Neely led the process to generate the new genome with the help of colleagues at the Hollings Marine Laboratory. For this project, the initial genomic sequencing and assembly were completed by Dovetail Genomics , a private U.S.-based company. Next, the genome was annotated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) using previously deposited data generated in large part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Marine Genomics Core. "Once you can identify all of the proteins and know their amounts as expressed by the genome," Neely explained, "you can figure out what's going on in the bottlenose dolphin's biological systems in this really detailed manner." Neely's study is part of an emerging field called proteomics. In the case of dolphins, proteomic work has a wide variety of potential applications. The zoo and aquarium industry, which generates revenues of approximately $16 billion a year, could use it to improve the care of bottlenose dolphins. In addition, improved dolphin proteomics could improve assessments of wild dolphin populations, and provide an immense amount of data on environmental contaminants and the safety and health of the world's oceanic food web. Comparing the proteins of humans and these other mammals is already providing researchers with a wealth of new information about how the human body works. Those findings could eventually be used to develop new, more precise treatment methods for common medical problems. As marine mammals descend, they shut off the blood flow to many of their organs, which has long puzzled and intrigued biologists. In contrast, if blood stops flowing to the organs of a human's body for even a few seconds, the result can be a stroke, kidney failure, or even death. Studies have recently revealed that lesser-known proteins in the blood of marine mammals may be playing a big role in the dives by protecting bottlenose dolphins' kidneys and hearts from damage when blood flow and oxygen flow start and stop repeatedly during those underwater forays. One of these proteins is known as vanin-1. Humans produce vanin-1, but in much smaller amounts. Researchers would like to gather more information on whether or not elevating levels of vanin-1 may offer protection to kidneys. "There's this gap in the knowledge about genes and the proteins they make. We are missing a huge piece of the puzzle in how these animals do what they do," said Mike Janech from the Medical University of South Carolina. His group has been researching vanin-1 and has identified numerous other potential biomedical applications for the dolphin genome just created by NIST. "Genes carry the information of life," Janech said. "But proteins execute the functions." Vanin-1 is just one example of how genomic information about this mammalian cousin might prove useful. There may be hundreds of other similar applications, including some related to the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes. This represents another avenue for biomimicry, which seeks solutions to human problems by examining and imitating nature's patterns and strategies. In the past, biomimicry was solely focused on the structural aspects of animal body parts such as arms and legs or functional patterns of things like noses and sniffing. But as the study of DNA has evolved, so too has our ability to examine the things happening at the most minute levels within another mammal's body. "We are now entering what could be called the post-model-organism era," Neely said. Instead of looking only for a structure to model, imitate or learn from, scientists are looking at the complete molecular landscape of genes and proteins of these creatures for model processes, too. "With abundant genomic resources it is now possible to study non-model organisms with similar molecular machinery in order to tackle difficult biomedical problems." To gather the needed protein information, Neely and his team used a specimen provided by the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank (NMMTB), the longest running project of NIST's Marine Environmental Specimen Bank. Half of the approximately 4,000 marine mammal specimens in the NMMTB are collected as a part of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program . The specimen provided for Neely's study was known to originate very close to the Hollings Marine Lab. The new, state-of-the-art genome immediately began providing new biochemical insights. Studies at NIST are ongoing to validate the updated protein maps using an ultra-high-resolution tribrid mass spectrometer, which is the most powerful tool available to identify and quantify proteins. Other Mammal Proteins Seem Promising, Too Neely said the results demonstrate the utility of re-mapping genomes with the improved bioanalytical capabilities provided by new genomic sequencing technology coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometers. The data from this project will also be available in the public domain so that the results will be easy for others to access and use for diverse applications and research. This is the first of many such projects to be undertaken by the Charleston group whereby new analytical techniques could be applied to marine animals. Studying other diving marine mammals can improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in diving. Also, sea lion proteins may have much to tell us about metastatic cancer, which especially intrigues Neely and his colleagues. As a research chemist, Neely says he has not really spent much time before now observing marine mammals as a part of his work hours. He does encounter dolphins when he goes out surfing along the Carolina coastline, though. "It's amazing to think that we are at a point where cutting-edge research in marine mammals can directly advance human biomedical discoveries," he said. Explore further: Researchers probing the beneficial secrets in dolphins' proteins


People can be affected by ciguatera, the most common form of algal-induced seafood poisoning, by eating contaminated tropical marine reef fish such as grouper, snapper and barracuda. The fish can become contaminated with ciguatoxins, potent neurotoxins produced by Gambierdiscus, a microscopic algae common in the tropics. Ciguatera-causing algae are abundant in the Caribbean, and ocean warming would enable some of those species to move northward, increasing its presence in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. southeast Atlantic. Warmer temperatures could also mean larger and longer blooms of harmful algae, including those that produce ciguatoxins. In the Caribbean, Gambierdiscus are already near the top of their preferred temperature range. Higher temperatures are likely to inhibit the growth of these cells, slightly decreasing the risk of ciguatera in the Caribbean. "This is another example of how we can use NOAA's observing and forecasting expertise to anticipate and prepare for environmental change and its impact on coastal communities and economies," said Mary Erickson, director of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, which conducted the research. "It contributes to NOAA's larger efforts to build a 'climate-smart' nation resilient to climate and weather extremes, and long-term changes." For this study, researchers projected water temperatures in the greater Caribbean through the year 2099, based on 11 global climate models and data from NOAA buoys in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Forecasted temperature changes were then used to project the effects of ocean warming on the growth, abundance and distribution of two groups of ciguatera-causing algae (Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa). More than 400 fish species are known to become toxic. In U.S. waters, ciguatera occurs in Hawaii, Guam, southern Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and occasionally in the Gulf of Mexico, extending around the southeast U.S. coast as far north as North Carolina. Ciguatera impedes development of fisheries resources in many regions of the world. Toxins produced by Gambierdiscus contaminate marine animals such as corals and seaweeds, and the carnivores that feed upon them, causing toxins to move into the food chain. "Contaminated fish have no specific taste, color, or smell and there is no easy method for measuring ciguatoxins," said Steve Kibler, a NOAA scientist and the study's lead author. "However, we can forecast risk based on where and when we are likely to find the algae that produce ciguatoxins." The forecast will allow communities to target monitoring, saving resources by focusing only on areas and times when ciguatera is likely to be present. This work is part of a larger NOAA effort to develop and implement practical, affordable, and sustainable strategies for managing the risk of ciguatera. Next steps include determining which species are producing the toxins and developing and transferring monitoring technology to managers and researchers in tropical countries around the world. The ciguatera forecast is part of a NOAA ecological forecasting initiative that aims to deliver accurate, relevant, timely and reliable ecological forecasts directly to coastal resource managers and the public as part of its stewardship and scientific mandates for coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources. More information: Steven R. Kibler et al. Effects of ocean warming on growth and distribution of dinoflagellates associated with ciguatera fish poisoning in the Caribbean, Ecological Modelling (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.08.020


News Article | November 4, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Nearly a quarter of the world's population lives within 60 miles of the shoreline and within 300 feet of sea level elevation. As sea level rises, these shoreline communities as well as barrier islands, dunes and marshes become more at-risk. The LSU Center for Coastal Resiliency, or CCR, led by Scott Hagen, a professor in the LSU Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the LSU Center for Computation & Technology, has received $1.3 million in grants to support critical research that will advance the tools and processes to assess these risks. With support from the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, CCR will build upon its previous NOAA-funded efforts and those successful outcomes and strategies. One strategy has been to directly involve coastal resource managers early and throughout the assessment process. Resource managers' input has informed the development and application of large-scale, high-definition computer models that can predict the coastal dynamics of sea level rise and assess hydrodynamic and ecological impacts at the coastal land margin. This research examines the impacts from the coastal dynamics of sea level rise through integrated field assessments and models representing tides, wind-wave, storm surge, coastal morphology, overland and biological processes. In collaboration with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, University of Central Florida, University of South Carolina and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, CCR researchers aim to refine, enhance and extend the models as well as link the economic impact and value of ecosystem services to the coastal dynamics of sea level rise. "Our collaborative work has helped shift the paradigm for climate change and sea level rise assessments at the coastal land margin away from 'bathtub' assessments, which simply apply a static rise to existing configurations, to a more dynamic and realistic assessment," said Hagen, the principal investigator of the projects. "The end products we have produced and are developing are truly outcomes from transdisciplinary work." This $1.2 million project is funded for four years. The researchers will deliver their results through a flexible, multi-platform mechanism that allows for region-wide or place-based assessments. "Engaging stakeholders appropriately and effectively over the duration of the project should help ensure development of accessible and useful tools that can empower communities in better understanding and preparing for the impacts of climate change and sea level rise," said Denise DeLorme, professor in the LSU Department of Environmental Sciences and co-principal investigator on the project. Tackling large-scale challenges, such as sea level rise and storm surge response, with high definition computer models requires robust high-performance computing infrastructure. "We have the people, tools and technology at LSU and the Center for Computation & Technology to find solutions that will be able to protect coastal communities worldwide," said J. "Ram" Ramanujam, director of the LSU Center for Computation & Technology. "CCR's strength is in building collaborations across disciplines to develop advanced systems-based models and further our understanding of the complexities that factor into coastal resiliency." CCR received another grant to quantify the dynamic effects of sea level rise and projected landscape changes on storm surge in Hampton Roads, Virginia, which is rated second only to New Orleans as the most vulnerable area to relative sea level rise in the U.S. Results from this project will be centered on scenario projections of nuisance flooding at high tide, storm surge depth and extent under a suite of storm conditions, sea level rise rates, landscape changes and possible management actions. CCR will partner with the Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University on this project.


Reiter M.A.,Bethune-Cookman University | Matlock G.C.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Gentile J.H.,Harwell Gentile and Associates | Harwell M.A.,Harwell Gentile and Associates | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management | Year: 2013

Ecosystem management requires understanding society's goals for an ecosystem and managing for some optimal solution. Unlike terrestrial ecosystem managers, coastal and marine ecosystem management seldom integrates across sectors or scientific disciplines to achieve desired social benefits. An Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) considers the ecosystem (including humans) as a unit and can assist in setting goals, determining an ecosystem's ability to support ecological processes and society's desires, and predicting the outcome of alternatives. The use of Coupled Ecological-Societal Systems Models utilised within the Integrated Assessment and Ecosystem Management Protocol (IAEMP) allows managers to extend a graphical picture of risk hypotheses to forecast scenarios that can be analysed relative to management goals. Scenarios predicted to meet management goals are evaluated against management constraints to select the "optimal" option for a management action in an adaptive management process. The IAEMP thus helps characterise potential causes of environmental problems, select appropriate response options, and implement and evaluate the selected option, thereby either addressing the concern or improving the ecosystem model for future decisions. © 2013 Imperial College Press.


PubMed | University of Maryland University College, Oregon State University and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Type: | Journal: Environment international | Year: 2014

Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus are ubiquitous in the marine-estuarine environment, but the magnitude of human non-ingestion exposure to these waterborne pathogens is largely unknown. We evaluated the magnitude of dermal exposure to V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus among swimmers recreating in Vibrio-populated waters by conducting swim studies at four swimming locations in the Chesapeake Bay in 2009 and 2011. Volunteers (n=31) swam for set time periods, and surface water (n=25) and handwash (n=250) samples were collected. Samples were analyzed for Vibrio concentrations using quantitative PCR. Linear and logistic regressions were used to evaluate factors associated with recreational exposures. Mean surface water V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus concentrations were 1128CFUmL(-1) (95% confidence interval (CI): 665.6, 1591.4) and 18CFUmL(-1) (95% CI: 9.8, 26.1), respectively, across all sampling locations. Mean Vibrio concentrations in handwash samples (V. vulnificus, 180CFUcm(-2) (95% CI: 136.6, 222.5); V. parahaemolyticus, 3CFUcm(-2) (95% CI: 2.4, 3.7)) were significantly associated with Vibrio concentrations in surface water (V. vulnificus, p<0.01; V. parahaemolyticus, p<0.01), but not with salinity or temperature (V. vulnificus, p=0.52, p=0.17; V. parahaemolyticus, p=0.82, p=0.06). Handwashing reduced V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus on subjects hands by approximately one log (93.9%, 89.4%, respectively). It can be concluded that when Chesapeake Bay surface waters are characterized by elevated concentrations of Vibrio, swimmers and individuals working in those waters could experience significant dermal exposures to V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus, increasing their risk of infection.


McFee W.E.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Schwacke J.H.,Medical University of South Carolina | Stolen M.K.,Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute | Mullin K.D.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Schwacke L.H.,National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2010

The Gompertz function is the most commonly used growth function for cetacean studies. However, this function cannot represent multiple phases of growth. In this study, we present a Bayesian framework fitting parameters of a triple-logistic growth function to describe multiple phases of growth for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), simultaneously fitting and comparing all growth parameters between South Carolina (SC), Mississippi Sound (MSS), and Indian River Lagoon (IRL) cohorts. The fitted functions indicated a preliminary early, rapid growth phase, followed by a second phase of slower growth, and then a moderate growth spurt later in life. Growth parameters between geographic cohorts did not show obvious differences, although asymptotic length for SC dolphins was lower than MSS and IRL dolphins and significantly lower between females from SC and the IRL. Growth rate velocities between the sexes showed females exceed males initially (<1 yr), followed by males gaining an advantage around the ages of 3-4 yr until the age of around 15 yr when growth rates for both sexes approached zero (asymptotic length). This study demonstrates age-related changes in growth rates between bottlenose dolphin sexes and evidence of at least some differences (i.e., asymptotic length) across geographic cohorts.


Shaw K.S.,University of Cambridge | Jacobs J.M.,National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science | Crump B.C.,University of Cambridge | Crump B.C.,Oregon State University
Frontiers in Microbiology | Year: 2014

To determine if a storm event (i.e., high winds, large volumes of precipitation) could alter concentrations of Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus in aquacultured oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and associated surface water and sediment, this study followed a sampling timeline before and after Hurricane Irene impacted the Chesapeake Bay estuary in late August 2011. Aquacultured oysters were sampled from two levels in the water column: surface (0.3 m) and near-bottom (just above the sediment). Concentrations of each Vibrio spp. and associated virulence genes were measured in oysters with a combination of real-time PCR and most probable number (MPN) enrichment methods, and in sediment and surface water with real-time PCR. While concentration shifts of each Vibrio species were apparent post-storm, statistical tests indicated no significant change in concentration for either Vibrio species by location (surface or near bottom oysters) or date sampled (oyster tissue, surface water, and sediment concentrations). V. vulnificus in oyster tissue was correlated with total suspended solids (r = 0.41, P = 0.04), and V. vulnificus in sediment was correlated with secchi depth (r = -0.93, P <0.01), salinity (r = -0.46, P = 0.02), tidal height (r = -0.45, P = 0.03), and surface water V. vulnificus (r = 0.98, P <0.01). V. parahaemolyticus in oyster tissue did not correlate with environmental measurements, but V. parahaemolyticus in sediment and surface water correlated with several measurements including secchi depth [r = -0.48, P = 0.02 (sediment); r = -0.97, P <0.01 (surface water)] and tidal height [r = -0.96, P <0.01 (sediment), r = -0.59, P <0.01 (surface water)]. The concentrations of Vibrio spp. were higher in oysters relative to other studies (average V. vulnificus 4 × 105 MPN g-1, V. parahaemolyticus 1 × 105 MPN g-1), and virulence-associated genes were detected in most oyster samples. This study provides a first estimate of storm-related Vibrio density changes in oyster tissues, sediment, and surface water at an aquaculture facility in the Chesapeake Bay © 2014 Shaw, Jacobs and Crump.

Loading National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science collaborators
Loading National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science collaborators