National Museums Northern Ireland

Holywood, United Kingdom

National Museums Northern Ireland

Holywood, United Kingdom
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Morrow C.C.,Queen's University of Belfast | Redmond N.E.,Smithsonian Institution | Picton B.E.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Thacker R.W.,University of Alabama at Birmingham | And 4 more authors.
Integrative and Comparative Biology | Year: 2013

Sponge classification has long been based mainly on morphocladistic analyses but is now being greatly challenged by more than 12 years of accumulated analyses of molecular data analyses. The current study used phylogenetic hypotheses based on sequence data from 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, and the CO1 barcoding fragment, combined with morphology to justify the resurrection of the order Axinellida Lévi, 1953. Axinellida occupies a key position in different morphologically derived topologies. The abandonment of Axinellida and the establishment of Halichondrida Vosmaer, 1887 sensu lato to contain Halichondriidae Gray, 1867, Axinellidae Carter, 1875, Bubaridae Topsent, 1894, Heteroxyidae Dendy, 1905, and a new family Dictyonellidae van Soest et al., 1990 was based on the conclusion that an axially condensed skeleton evolved independently in separate lineages in preference to the less parsimonious assumption that asters (star-shaped spicules), acanthostyles (club-shaped spicules with spines), and sigmata (C-shaped spicules) each evolved more than once. Our new molecular trees are congruent and contrast with the earlier, morphologically based, trees. The results show that axially condensed skeletons, asters, acanthostyles, and sigmata are all homoplasious characters. The unrecognized homoplasious nature of these characters explains much of the incongruence between molecular-based and morphology-based phylogenies. We use the molecular trees presented here as a basis for re-interpreting the morphological characters within Heteroscleromorpha. The implications for the classification of Heteroscleromorpha are discussed and a new order Biemnida ord. nov. is erected. © 2013 The Author.

Morrow C.C.,Queen's University of Belfast | Picton B.E.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Erpenbeck D.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Boury-Esnault N.,Aix - Marseille University | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2012

The current morphological classification of the Demospongiae G4 clade was tested using large subunit ribosomal RNA (LSU rRNA) sequences from 119 taxa. Fifty-three mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) barcoding sequences were also analysed to test whether the 28S phylogeny could be recovered using an independent gene. This is the largest and most comprehensive study of the Demospongiae G4 clade. The 28S and CO1 genetrees result in congruent clades but conflict with the current morphological classification. The results confirm the polyphyly of Halichondrida, Hadromerida, Dictyonellidae, Axinellidae and Poecilosclerida and show that several of the characters used in morphological classifications are homoplasious. Robust clades are clearly shown and a new hypothesis for relationships of taxa allocated to G4 is proposed. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Ruffell A.,Queen's University of Belfast | Simms M.J.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Wignall P.B.,University of Leeds
Geological Magazine | Year: 2016

From 1989 to 1994 a series of papers outlined evidence for a brief episode of climate change from arid to humid, and then back to arid, during the Carnian Stage of the late Triassic Epoch. This time of climate change was compared to marine and terrestrial biotic changes, mainly extinction and then radiation of flora and fauna. Subsequently termed, albeit incorrectly, the Carnian Pluvial Event (CPE) by successive authors, interest in this episode of climatic change has increased steadily, with new evidence being published as well as several challenges to the theory. The exact nature of this humid episode, whether reflecting widespread precipitation or more local effects, as well as its ultimate cause, remains equivocal. Bed-by-bed sampling of the Carnian in the Southern Alps (Dolomites) shows the episode began with a negative carbon isotope excursion that lasted for only part of one ammonoid zone (A. austriacum). However, that the Carnian Humid Episode represents a significantly longer period, both environmentally and biotically, is irrefutable. The evidence is strongest in the European, Middle Eastern, Himalayan, North American and Japanese successions, but not always so clear in South America, Antarctica and Australia. The eruption of the Wrangellia Large Igneous Province and global warming (causing increased evaporation in the Tethyan and Panthalassic oceans) are suggested as causes for the humid episode. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015.

Strain E.M.A.,Queen's University of Belfast | Allcock A.L.,National University of Ireland | Goodwin C.E.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Maggs C.A.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Sea Research | Year: 2012

Fisheries can have profound effects on epifaunal community function and structure. We analysed the results from five dive surveys (1975-1976, 1980, 1983, 2003 and 2007), taken in a Special Area of Conservation, Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland before and after a ten year period of increased trawling activity between 1985 and 1995. There were no detectable differences in the species richness or taxonomic distinctiveness before (1975-1983) and after (2003-2007) this period. However, there was a shift in the epifaunal assemblage between the surveys in 1975-1983 and 2003-2007. In general, the slow-moving, or sessile, erect, filter-feeders were replaced by highly mobile, swimming, scavengers and predators. There were declines in the frequency of the fished bivalve Aequipecten opercularis and the non-fished bivalves Modiolus modiolus and Chlamys varia and some erect sessile invertebrates between the surveys in 1975-1983 and 2003-2007. In contrast, there were increases in the frequency of the fished and reseeded bivalves Pecten maximus and Ostrea edulis, the fished crabs Cancer pagurus and Necora puber and the non-fished sea stars Asterias rubens, Crossaster papposus and Henricia oculata between the surveys in 1975-1983 and 2003-2007. We suggest that these shifts could be directly and indirectly attributed to the long-term impacts of trawl fishing gear, although increases in the supply of discarded bait and influxes of sediment may also have contributed to changes in the frequency of some taxa. These results suggest that despite their limitations, historical surveys and repeat sampling over long periods can help to elucidate the inferred patterns in the epifaunal community. The use of commercial fishing gear was banned from two areas in Strangford Lough in 2011, making it a model ecosystem for assessing the long-term recovery of the epifaunal community from the impacts of mobile and pot fishing gear. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

McNeill G.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute AFBI | Nunn J.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Minchin D.,Marine Organism Investigations
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2010

Chains and solitary individuals of the slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata were found, some with egg capsules, at several localities within Belfast Lough on the north-east coast of Ireland during 2009. The species is widely dispersed, being found on the lower shore to depths of 7 m attached to scallops, mussels and stones and so is considered to be established. Shell winter growth checks indicated a possible arrival in or before 2004. While there have been previous records of this invasive species in Ireland, this is the only known established population. © 2010 The Author(s).

Goodwin C.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Brewin P.E.,Shallow Marine Surveys Group | Brickle P.,South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

Sponge samples were taken by SCUBA diving from sixteen sites on the north coast of South Georgia island, south west Southern Ocean. Fifteen new species are described: Iophon husvikensis sp. nov., Clathria (Clathria) stromnessa sp. nov., Clathria (Axosuberites) rosita sp. nov., Clathria (Microciona) matthewsi sp. nov., Lissodendoryx (Ectyodoryx) collinsi sp. nov., Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) barnesi sp. nov., Hymedesmia (Stylopus) pharos sp. nov., Myxilla (Burtoanchora) ponceti sp. nov., Tedania (Tedaniopsis) aurantiaca sp. nov., Tedania (Tedaniopsis) wellsae sp. nov., Mycale (Mycale) brownorum sp. nov., Mycale (Mycale) cartwrighti sp. nov., Haliclona (Soestella) crowtheri sp. nov., Microxina myxa sp. nov. and Calyx shackletoni sp. nov. Information is also provided on the distribution and in situ external appearance of other sponge species such as Cinachyra barbata Sollas 1886, Polymastia invaginata Kirkpatrick 1907, Iophon unicorne Topsent 1907, Phorbas glaberrimus (Topsent 1917), Myxilla (Ectyomyxilla) kerguelensis (Hentschel 1914) and Rossella nuda Topsent 1901. These results increase the previously reported low sponge endemicity in South Georgia, which now better aligns with the high endemicity of other groups. However, because we sampled areas that have been poorly sampled in the Southern Ocean / Antarctic region (shallow subtidal, rocky), many of these species may have wider polar distributions. The effect of the Polar Front as a dispersal barrier to neighbouring biogeographic regions is discussed. Copyright © 2012 · Magnolia Press.

Goodwin C.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Jones J.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Neely K.,Shallow Marine Surveys Group | Brickle P.,Shallow Marine Surveys Group
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2011

Sponge samples were taken by SCUBA diving from four sites around Stanley and nine sites at the Jason Islands in the Falkland Islands. Twelve new species are described: Iophon pictoni sp. nov., Lissodendoryx (Ectyodoryx) jasonensis sp. nov., Phorbas ferrugineus sp. nov., Phorbas shackletoni sp. nov., Myxilla (Styloptilon) acanthotornota sp. nov., Amphilectus fleecei sp. nov., Amphilectus dactylus sp. nov., Mycale (Aegogropila) nodulosa sp. nov., Scopalina erubescens sp. nov., Scopalina bunkeri sp. nov., Amphimedon calyx sp. nov. and Pachychalina erinacea sp. nov. Information is also provided on the distribution and external appearance of other sponge species: Iophon proximum Ridley, 1881, Clathria (Dendrocia) tuberculata Burton, 1934, Tedania (Tedania) mucosa Thiele, 1905, Tedania (Tedania) murdochi Topsent, 1915, Halichondria (Eumastia) attenuata Topsent, 1915, Siphonochalina fortis Ridley, 1881 and Haliclona (Soestella) chilensis Thiele, 1905. The biogeography of the Falklands' sponge fauna is discussed. © Copyright Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2011.

Goodwin C.E.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Picton B.E.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Van Soest R.W.M.,University of Amsterdam
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2011

This study describes species of the genus Hymedesmia from three areas of cold-water coral reef: Mingulay Reef Complex (Scotland, UK) and Rockall and Porcupine Banks (off UK and Irish coasts). Five new species are described: Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) gibbosa, H. stoneae, H. tendali, H. xavierae and H. valentinae. Records are provided of other poorly known Hymedesmia species: H. bocki, H. cohesibacilla, H. curvichela, H. ebria, H. gustafsoni, H. simillima, H. irregularis, H. proxima, H. hibernica and H. primitiva. Information on distribution of other Hymedesmia species occurring in Britain and Ireland is presented. The sites studied represent a variety of depth-ranges and the data collected suggest that some Hymedesmia species may be restricted to particular bathymetric zones. © 2010 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

Simms M.J.,National Museums Northern Ireland
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association | Year: 2015

The Stac Fada Member, an impact ejecta deposit within the Mesoproterozoic Stoer Group, is represented today by just a narrow outcrop, truncated by faulting and erosion, extending for 50. km north-south along the coast of north-west Scotland. It appears to represent a non-erosive Single Layer Ejecta deposit rather than the erosively emplaced Double Layer Ejecta deposits characteristic of terrestrial impact craters and it is unique in preserving spallation debris, ejected very early in the impact process, beneath the ejecta blanket. Various sedimentary structures associated with the Stac Fada Member, from ejecta intrusions along bedding planes immediately beneath it, to erosional troughs eroded into its top, consistently indicate emplacement from the east. No surface manifestation of an impact crater has been identified but there is a remarkable correspondence between its location, as inferred from these directional data, and the position of the Lairg Gravity Low, an ~40. km diameter geophysical anomaly centred more than 50. km east of the closest point on the Stoer Group outcrop. Proximal-distal facies changes along the outcrop of the ejecta deposit are consistent with this inferred relationship between the ejecta deposit and the gravity low. Post-impact drainage reconfiguration suggests a regional isostatic doming in response to excavation of the crater that also appears to be centred on the Lairg Gravity Low. Comparison with gravity data from impact craters elsewhere suggests that the Lairg Gravity Low represents a complex crater at least 40. km in diameter that now lies buried beneath the Moine Thrust complex. © 2015 The Geologists' Association.

Goodwin C.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Rodolfo-Metalpa R.,University of Plymouth | Picton B.,National Museums Northern Ireland | Hall-Spencer J.M.,University of Plymouth
Marine Ecology | Year: 2014

The effects of ocean acidification on lower invertebrates such as sponges may be pronounced because of their low capacity for acid-base regulation. However, so far, most studies have focused on calcifiers. We present the first study of the effects of ocean acidification on the Porifera. Sponge species composition and cover along pH gradients at CO2 vents off Ischia (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy) was measured at sites with normal pH (8.1-8.2), lowered pH (mean 7.8-7.9, min 7.4-7.5) and extremely low pH (6.6). There was a strong correlation between pH and both sponge cover and species composition. Crambe crambe was the only species present in any abundance in the areas with mean pH 6.6, seven species were present at mean pH 7.8-7.9 and four species (Phorbas tenacior, Petrosia ficiformis, Chondrilla nucula and Hemimycale columella) were restricted to sites with normal pH. Sponge percentage cover decreased significantly from normal to acidified sites. No significant effect of increasing CO2 levels and decreasing pH was found on spicule form in Crambe crambe. This study indicates that increasing CO2 concentrations will likely affect sponge community composition as some demosponge species appear to be more vulnerable than others. Further research into the mechanisms by which acidification affects sponges would be useful in predicting likely effects on sessile marine communities. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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