Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce, FL, United States

Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce, FL, United States
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Ritson-Williams R.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Arnold S.N.,University of Maine, United States | Steneck R.S.,University of Maine, United States
Coral Reefs | Year: 2010

The settlement specificity of two threatened Caribbean corals, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis, was tested by measuring their rates of larval metamorphosis in response to crustose coralline algae (CCA) and other substrata. In the no-choice experiments, the coral larvae were placed in six treatments: filtered seawater (FSW), a fragment of biofilmed dead skeleton of A. palmata, or a fragment of one of four species of CCA (Hydrolithon boergesenii, Porolithon pachydermum, Paragoniolithon solubile, and Titanoderma prototypum). Within each CCA treatment, there were three different substrata on which to settle and metamorphose: (1) the CCA surface, (2) the rock under the CCA, or (3) the plastic dish. The 5-day-old larvae of both A. palmata and A. cervicornis had similar rates of total metamorphosis (all substrata combined) in every treatment (excluding FSW) even in the absence of CCA. However, there were differences in larval behavior among the CCA species since the larvae settled and metamorphosed on different substrata in the presence of different CCA species. In the no-choice experiments the larvae of both corals had higher rates of metamorphosis on the top surfaces of H. boergesenii and/or T. prototypum than on P. pachydermum. In the choice experiments, the coral larvae were offered two species of CCA in the same dish. When given a choice, both species of coral larvae had more settlement and metamorphosis on the surface of H. boergesenii or T. prototypum or clean rock than onto the surface of P. solubile. After 6 weeks in the field, transplanted A. palmata recruits had approximately 15% survival on both T. prototypum and H. boergesenii, but A. cervicornis recruits only survived on T. prototypum (13%). Some, but not all, CCA species facilitated the larval settlement and post-settlement survival of these two threatened corals, highlighting the importance of benthic community composition for successful coral recruitment. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

Baeza J.A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Baeza J.A.,Católica del Norte University
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2013

The 'Tomlinson-Ghiselin' hypothesis (TGh) predicts that outcrossing simultaneous hermaphroditism (SH) is advantageous when population density is low because the probability of finding sexual partners is negligible. In shrimps from the family Lysmatidae, Bauer's historical contingency hypothesis (HCh) suggests that SH evolved in an ancestral tropical species that adopted a symbiotic lifestyle with, e.g., sea anemones and became a specialized fish-cleaner. Restricted mobility of shrimps due to their association with a host, and hence, reduced probability of encountering mating partners, would have favored SH. The HCh is a special case of the TGh. Herein, I examined within a phylogenetic framework whether the TGh/HCh explains the origin of SH in shrimps. A phylogeny of caridean broken-back shrimps in the families Lysmatidae, Barbouriidae, Merguiidae was first developed using nuclear and mitochondrial makers. Complete evidence phylogenetic analyses using maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian inference (BI) demonstrated that Lysmatidae. +. Barbouriidae are monophyletic. In turn, Merguiidae is sister to the Lysmatidae. +. Barbouriidae. ML and BI ancestral character-state reconstruction in the resulting phylogenetic trees indicated that the ancestral Lysmatidae was either gregarious or lived in small groups and was not symbiotic. Four different evolutionary transitions from a free-living to a symbiotic lifestyle occurred in shrimps. Therefore, the evolution of SH in shrimps cannot be explained by the TGh/HCh; reduced probability of encountering mating partners in an ancestral species due to its association with a sessile host did not favor SH in the Lysmatidae. It is proposed that two conditions acting together in the past; low male mating opportunities and brooding constraints, might have favored SH in the ancestral Lysmatidae. +. Barbouridae. Additional studies on the life history and phylogenetics of broken-back shrimps are needed to understand the evolution of SH in the ecologically diverse Caridea. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Baeza J.A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Baeza J.A.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Baeza J.A.,Católica del Norte University
Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2010

Sex allocation theory predicts female-biased sex allocation for simultaneous hermaphrodites with a monogamous mating system. Mating systems theory predicts that monogamy is advantageous in environments where refuges are discrete, scarce, relatively small, and when predation risk is high outside of these refuges. These predictions were tested with the Caribbean shrimp Lysmata pederseni, a simultaneous hermaphrodite which has an early male phase and lives inside tubes of the sponge Callyspongia vaginalis. This host sponge is a scarce resource that, together with the high predation risk typical of tropical environments, should favor monogamy in the shrimp. Field observations demonstrated that shrimps were frequently encountered as pairs within these tube sponges. Pairs were equally likely to comprise two hermaphrodites or one hermaphrodite and one male. Several of these pairs were observed for long periods of time in the field. Experiments demonstrated that hermaphrodites tolerated other hermaphrodites but not males in their host sponge. These results suggest that pairs of hermaphroditic L. pederseni are socially monogamous; they share the same host individual and might reproduce exclusively with their host partners for long periods of time. Nevertheless, males appeared less likely to establish long-term associations with hermaphrodites as indicated by the rate of their disappearance from their hosts (greater than that of hermaphrodites). Sex allocation was female biased in monogamous hermaphrodites. On average, hermaphrodites invested 34 times more to female than to male reproductive structures. Monogamy and female-biased sex allocation seem to be evolutionary consequences of adopting a symbiotic lifestyle in simultaneous hermaphrodites. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Baeza J.A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Baeza J.A.,Católica del Norte University | Ritson-Williams R.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Fuentes M.S.,Algenol Biofuels Inc.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2013

For symbiotic crustaceans, theory predicts that monogamy is adaptive when species inhabit scarce, relatively small and morphologically simple hosts in tropical environments where predation risk away from hosts is high. We tested this prediction in the shrimp Paranchistus pycnodontae, which inhabits the mantle cavity of the winged pearl oyster Pteria penguin in the Coral Triangle. In various symbiotic crustaceans, males are smaller than females, and this sexual dimorphism has been used as evidence of sex change (protandry) in these organisms. Preliminary observations in Pa.pycnodontae suggested that males were smaller than females. Thus, we first investigated the sexual system of Pa.pycnodontae to determine if the species was protandric. Morphological identification and size frequency distributions indicated that the population comprised small males, small immature females and larger mature females, which was confirmed by dissections. No transitional individuals were found. Thus, Pa.pycnodontae is a gonochoric species with reverse sexual dimorphism. Pa.pycnodontae inhabit as heterosexual pairs in the mantle cavity of hosts more frequently than is expected by chance alone. Pairing was size assortative; both carapace length and propodus length of the major cheliped were positively correlated between males and females forming pairs. Males occur with females in the same host, independent of the female gravid condition or of the stage of development of the brooded eggs. Lastly, the major cheliped did not exhibit positive allometry in males. All the available information suggests that Pa.pycnodontae has adopted a socially monogamous mating system with males and females forming exclusive pairs from other adults. Symbiotic shrimps can be used as a model system to understand behavioural diversity within socially monogamous marine invertebrates. © 2012 The Zoological Society of London.

Baeza J.A.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Baeza J.A.,Católica del Norte University | Fuentes M.S.,Algenol Biofuels Inc.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2013

Of paramount importance to studies that profit from molecular trees is the accuracy and robustness of the reconstructed phylogenies. Causes of systematic error that can mislead phylogenetic methods include nuclear copies of mitochondrial DNA (numts) and low phylogenetic informativeness (PI). Herein, numts and PI were explored in three mitochondrial genes commonly used for phylogenetic reconstruction: 16S, 12S, and cytochrome c oxidase I (COI). Shrimps from the genera Lysmata, Exhippolysmata, and Merguia were used as a model system. The existence of: (1) multiple bands on gels of COI and 12S polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products from various species; (2) double peaks, background noise, and ambiguity in sequence chromatograms of COI and 12SPCR products that produced a single clear band in other species; and (3) indels, stop codons, and considerable composition bias in COI-like cloned sequences of one problematic species (Lysmata seticaudata), was interpreted as evidence of pervasive non-functional nuclear copies of mitochondrial DNA (numts) of the targeted COI (and probably 12S) mtDNA fragment. The information content of the three mtDNA markers studied was investigated using PI profiling, spectral analysis, and neighbour-nets. Marker-specific PI profiles suggested that the COI marker has the highest information content and greatest power for resolving both shallow and deep nodes in trees depicting the phylogenetic relationship among the species studied. Nonetheless, spectral analysis of splits and neighbour-nets suggested that the 16S and 12S markers were equally or even more powerful than the COI marker for resolving nodes at all phylogenetic levels. Altogether, these analyses suggest that all three mtDNA markers are equally useful for resolving phylogenetic relationships in the shrimps studied, and that PI profiling is not necessarily useful to estimate overall gene utility. A 'total-evidence' phylogenetic analysis that included 34 species and used a concatenated data set of 1403 characters (from reliable 16S, 12S and COI sequences), demonstrated that the genus Lysmata is paraphyletic, and that the monophyletic clade comprising species of Lysmata and Exhippolysmata can be divided into four well-supported subclades (Neotropical, Cleaner, Cosmopolitan, and Morphovariable). © 2013 The Linnean Society of London.

Puglisi M.P.,Chicago State University | Sneed J.M.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Sharp K.H.,Eckerd College | Ritson-Williams R.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Natural Product Reports | Year: 2014

This review covers the recent marine chemical ecology literature for benthic bacteria and cyanobacteria, macroalgae, sponges, cnidarians, molluscs, other benthic invertebrates, and fish. © the Partner Organisations 2014.

Sneed J.M.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Sharp K.H.,Eckerd College | Ritchie K.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Microbial biofilms induce larval settlement for some invertebrates, including corals; however, the chemical cues involved have rarely been identified. Here, we demonstrate the role of microbial biofilms in inducing larval settlement with the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides and report the first instance of a chemical cue isolated from a marine biofilm bacterium that induces complete settlement (attachment and metamorphosis) of Caribbean coral larvae. Larvae settled in response to natural biofilms, and the response was eliminated when biofilms were treated with antibiotics. A similar settlement response was elicited by monospecific biofilms of a single bacterial strain, Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5, isolated from the surface biofilm of a crustose coralline alga. The activity of Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5 was attributed to the production of a single compound, tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), which has been shown previously to induce metamorphosis without attachment in Pacific acroporid corals. In addition to inducing settlement of brooded larvae (P. astreoides), TBP also induced larval settlement for two broadcastspawning species, Orbicella (formerly Montastraea) franksi and Acropora palmata, indicating that this compound may have widespread importance among Caribbean coral species. © 2014 The Authors Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Engene N.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Gunasekera S.P.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Gerwick W.H.,University of California at San Diego | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2013

Benthic marine cyanobacteria are known for their prolific biosynthetic capacities to produce structurally diverse secondary metabolites with biomedical application and their ability to form cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms. In an effort to provide taxonomic clarity to better guide future natural product drug discovery investigations and harmful algal bloom monitoring, this study investigated the taxonomy of tropical and subtropical natural product-producing marine cyanobacteria on the basis of their evolutionary relatedness. Our phylogenetic inferences of marine cyanobacterial strains responsible for over 100 bioactive secondary metabolites revealed an uneven taxonomic distribution, with a few groups being responsible for the vast majority of these molecules. Our data also suggest a high degree of novel biodiversity among natural product-producing strains that was previously overlooked by traditional morphology-based taxonomic approaches. This unrecognized biodiversity is primarily due to a lack of proper classification systems since the taxonomy of tropical and subtropical, benthic marine cyanobacteria has only recently been analyzed by phylogenetic methods. This evolutionary study provides a framework for a more robust classification system to better understand the taxonomy of tropical and subtropical marine cyanobacteria and the distribution of natural products in marine cyanobacteria. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.

Sharp K.H.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Ritchie K.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory | Schupp P.J.,University of Guam | Ritson-Williams R.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Coral animals harbor diverse microorganisms in their tissues, including archaea, bacteria, viruses, and zooxanthellae. The extent to which coral-bacterial associations are specific and the mechanisms for their maintenance across generations in the environment are unknown. The high diversity of bacteria in adult coral colonies has made it challenging to identify speciesspecific patterns. Localization of bacteria in gametes and larvae of corals presents an opportunity for determining when bacterial-coral associations are initiated and whether they are dynamic throughout early development. This study focuses on the early onset of bacterial associations in the mass spawning corals Montastraea annularis, M. franksi, M. faveolata, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Diploria strigosa, and A. humilis. The presence of bacteria and timing of bacterial colonization was evaluated in gametes, swimming planulae, and newly settled polyps by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using general eubacterial probes and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. The coral species investigated in this study do not appear to transmit bacteria via their gametes, and bacteria are not detectable in or on the corals until after settlement and metamorphosis. This study suggests that mass-spawning corals do not acquire, or are not colonized by, detectable numbers of bacteria until after larval settlement and development of the juvenile polyp. This timing lays the groundwork for developing and testing new hypotheses regarding general regulatory mechanisms that control bacterial colonization and infection of corals, and how interactions among bacteria and juvenile polyps influence the structure of bacterial assemblages in corals. © 2010 Sharp et al.

Sneed J.M.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
ISME Journal | Year: 2015

Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are important components of many marine ecosystems. They aid in reef accretion and stabilization, create habitat for other organisms, contribute to carbon sequestration and are important settlement substrata for a number of marine invertebrates. Despite their ecological importance, little is known about the bacterial communities associated with CCA or whether differences in bacterial assemblages may have ecological implications. This study examined the bacterial communities on four different species of CCA collected in Belize using bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing of the V1–V3 region of the 16S rDNA. CCA were dominated by Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria and Actinomycetes. At the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) level, each CCA species had a unique bacterial community that was significantly different from all other CCA species. Hydrolithon boergesenii and Titanoderma prototypum, CCA species that facilitate larval settlement in multiple corals, had higher abundances of OTUs related to bacteria that inhibit the growth and/or biofilm formation of coral pathogens. Fewer coral larvae settle on the surfaces of Paragoniolithon solubile and Porolithon pachydermum. These CCA species had higher abundances of OTUs related to known coral pathogens and cyanobacteria. Coral larvae may be able to use the observed differences in bacterial community composition on CCA species to assess the suitability of these substrata for settlement and selectively settle on CCA species that contain beneficial bacteria. © 2015 International Society for Microbial Ecology

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