Plymouth Marine Science Electronic Archive (PlyMSEA)
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    8257 research outputs found

    The relative impact of co-occurring stressors on the abundance of benthic species examined with three-way correspondence analysis

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    This paper presents a novel application of three-way correspondence analysis as a technique to analyse three-way contingency tables with abundance scores of several species. The example data analysis presented was taken from a previous mesocosm experiment and consists of a two-factor experimental design with physical disturbance and organic enrichment as factors, applied to sediment collected from the Oslofjørd, Norway. The focus of the original research was to evaluate the influence of the two factors and their interactions on the abundance of the species present in the sediment. In the current paper we demonstrate that by using a three-way correspon�dence approach it is possible to undertake simultaneous analysis of the species, identifying and evaluating their relative sensitivity to the environmental factors thus adding additional insight than was possible in the original analysis. In particular, this new approach allowed even relatively scarce species to be included in the analysis and evaluated together with abundant species. This paper demonstrates how three-way correspondence analysis can be a useful analytical tool in teasing out effects and interactions from multi-factorial studies

    Editorial: The Atlantic Meridional Transect programme (1995-2023)

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    Since 1995 the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) has undertaken measurements of oceanographic and atmospheric variables during 30 research cruises on a passage between the UK and destinations in the South Atlantic (Aiken and Bale, 2000; Robinson et al., 2006; Robinson et al., 2009; Rees et al., 2017). The transect spans more than 100° of latitude, samples to ocean depths of up to 1000 m and crosses a range of ecosystems from sub-polar to tropical, from eutrophic shelf seas and upwelling systems, to oligotrophic mid-ocean gyres. AMT has enabled the acquisition of repeat measurements of several Essential Ocean Variables and other ecosystem parameters and rate processes at a resolution of ~160 km (over ~13000 km). In delivering these activities AMT has facilitated long-term collaborations with NASA and ESA for the calibration and validation of satellite ocean colour sensors; with the UK Met-Office, NOC, NOAA, SOCCOM and University of Washington for ARGO and Bio-ARGO float deployment; and has maintained a long-term mooring in the South Atlantic Gyre (2009 to 2023). AMT data is archived and managed by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC), whilst key data are also directed to other focus specific databases (e.g. NASA SeaBASS, ESA OC-CCI, SOCAT, CDIAC, SeaDataNet). The generation of sustained observations of ocean biogeochemical variables is invaluable in monitoring ecosystem function and health during this period of rapid climate and environmental change. Globally there are a number of initiatives which aim to make repeated observations which include ship transects such as GO-SHIP and GEOTRACES and deployment of hydrodynamical and biogeochemical sensors as part of the ARGO programme. Examples of fixed point observations in the Atlantic include: The European Station for Time-Series in the Ocean (ESTOC) which has provided observations of the eastern sub-tropical Atlantic for more than twenty five years (González-Dávila and Santana-Casiano, 2023), the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS) in the western sub�tropical Atlantic, which, since 1988 has documented increases in temperature, ocean acidification and decreasing oxygen (Bates and Johnson, 2021); In the north-east Atlantic,the Western Channel Observatory (WCO) has records dating to the early 20th century and in recent decades has further evidenced climate related shifts in plankton communities alongside increases in temperature and ocean acidification (McEvoy et al., 2023); the Estación Permanente de Estudios Ambientale (EPEA) in the western South Atlantic has evidenced increases in chlorophyll associated with an increased proportion of small celled phytoplankton (Lutz et al., 2023). The AMT offers a unique and alternative approach by making repeat measurements along a transect which incorporates the latitudinal range of all these fixed-point stations. AMT provides an inclusive platform for multi-disciplinary ocean research with cruise berths open to the international community upon request. The thirty research expeditions to date have involved 310 sea-going scientists from 81 institutes representing 31 countries, resulting in 400 refereed papers which are available here

    The global impact of offshore wind farms on ecosystem services

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    Understanding the global impact of offshore wind farms (OWF) on biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) is crucial in developing sustainable energy transition pathways. This study takes a holistic approach, coupling a semi-systematic review with a novel analytical methodology, to consider the consequences of construction & operation of OWF deployment on biodiversity and ES. 314 pieces of evidence taken from 132 peer-reviewed studies provide the basis to determine the ecological and ES impacts. The process showed that construction impacts were predominantly negative across the ecological subject groups (52%), compared with positive im�pacts (8%) with several species of fish (e.g. brill, cod, dab, plaice) and some species of birds (e.g. common guillemot, northern fulmar, redhead) showing strongly negative trends. Operational phase impacts were more variable and could be either negative (32%) or positive (34%) depending on site specific conditions. More detailed investigations into fish, shellfish, humans and air-surface studies recorded a net positive effect of wind farm operations on these subject groups. Translation into ES outcomes identified that 14 ES are impacted by the construction and operation of OWF. The most substantially enhanced ES included effects on commercial fisheries and experiential recreation. Social acceptance toward new and hypothetical OWF was also strongly positive, irrespective of country location. Negative effects on ES, including existence values for culturally important groups, e.g., marine mammals and birds and the spread of non-native species, are potentially of most signifi�cance. Overall, this study finds more than 86% of possible offshore wind farm impacts on ES are still unknown. There was also a paucity of studies on the decommissioning of OWF and the impacts of deeper-water floating structures, with a bias in studies toward northern hemisphere and developed countries

    Developing expert scientific consensus on the environmental and societal effects of marine artificial structures prior to decommissioning

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    Thousands of artificial (‘human-made’) structures are present in the marine environment, many at or approaching end-of-life and requiring urgent decisions regarding their decommissioning. No consensus has been reached on which decommissioning option(s) result in optimal environmental and societal outcomes, in part, owing to a paucity of evidence from real-world decommissioning case studies. To address this significant chal�lenge, we asked a worldwide panel of scientists to provide their expert opinion. They were asked to identify and characterise the ecosystem effects of artificial structures in the sea, their causes and consequences, and to identify which, if any, should be retained following decommissioning. Experts considered that most of the pressures driving ecological and societal effects from marine artificial structures (MAS) were of medium severity, occur frequently, and are dependent on spatial scale with local-scale effects of greater magnitude than regional effects. The duration of many effects following decommissioning were considered to be relatively short, in the order of days. Overall, environmental effects of structures were considered marginally undesirable, while societal effects marginally desirable. Experts therefore indicated that any decision to leave MAS in place at end-of-life to be more beneficial to society than the natural environment. However, some individual environmental effects were considered desirable and worthy of retention, especially in certain geographic locations, where structures can support improved trophic linkages, increases in tourism, habitat provision, and population size, and provide stability in population dynamics. The expert analysis consensus that the effects of MAS are both negative and positive for the environment and society, gives no strong support for policy change whether removal or retention is favoured until further empirical evidence is available to justify change to the status quo. The combination of desirable and undesirable effects associated with MAS present a significant challenge for policy- and decision�makers in their justification to implement decommissioning options. Decisions may need to be decided on a case-by-case basis accounting for the trade-off in costs and benefits at a local level

    Steeper size spectra with decreasing phytoplankton biomass indicate strong trophic amplification and future fish declines

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    Under climate change, model ensembles suggest that declines in phyto�plankton biomass amplify into greater reductions at higher trophic levels, with serious implications for fisheries and carbon storage. However, the extent and mechanisms of this trophic amplification vary greatly among models, and validation is problematic. In situ size spectra offer a novel alternative, com�paring biomass of small and larger organisms to quantify the net efficiency of energy transfer through natural food webs that are already challenged with multiple climate change stressors. Our global compilation of pelagic size spectrum slopes supports trophic amplification empirically, independently from model simulations. Thus, even a modest (16%) decline in phytoplankton this century would magnify into a 38% decline in supportable biomass of fish within the intensively-fished mid-latitude ocean. We also show that this amplification stems not from thermal controls on consumers, but mainly from temperature or nutrient controls that structure the phytoplankton baseline of the food web. The lack of evidence for direct thermal effects on size structure contrasts with most current thinking, based often on more acute stress experiments or shorter-timescale responses. Our synthesis of size spectra integrates these short-term dynamics, revealing the net efficiency of food webs acclimating and adapting to climatic stressor

    Multiscale spatial variability and stability in the structure and diversity of bacterial communities associated with the kelp Eisenia cokeri in Peru

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    Ecological communities are structured by a range of processes that operate over a range of spatial scales. While our understanding of such biodiversity patterns in macro-communities is well studied, our understanding at the microbial level is still lacking. Bacteria can be free living or associated with host eukaryotes, forming part of a wider “microbiome,” which is fundamental for host performance and health. For habitat forming foundation-species, host-bacteria relationships likely play disproportionate roles in mediating processes for the wider ecosystem. Here, we describe host-bacteria communities across multiple spatial scales (i.e., from 10s of m to 100s of km) in the understudied kelp, Eisenia cokeri, in Peru. We found that E. cokeri supports a distinct bacterial community compared to the surrounding seawater, but the structure of these communities varied markedly at the regional (~480 km), site (1–10 km), and individual (10s of m) scale. The marked regional-scale differences we observed may be driven by a range of processes, including temperature, upwelling intensity, or regional connectivity patterns. However, despite this variability, we observed consistency in the form of a persistent core community at the genus level. Here, the genera Arenicella, Blastopirellula, Granulosicoccus, and Litorimonas were found in >80% of samples and comprised ~53% of total sample abundance. These genera have been documented within bacterial communities associated with kelps and other seaweed species from around the world and may be important for host function and wider ecosystem health in genera

    The link between surface and sub-surface chlorophyll-a in the centre of the Atlantic subtropical gyres: a comparison of observations and models

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    Satellite observations have given us a clear idea of the changes in chlorophyll in the surface ocean on both a seasonal and interannual basis, but repeated observations at depth are much rarer. The permanently-stratified subtropical gyres in the Atlantic are highly oligotrophic, with most production centred on a deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) just above the nitracline. This study explores the variations in this feature in the core of both gyres, considering both seasonal and interannual variations, and the linkages between changes at the surface and sub-surface. The in situ observations come from the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT), a long-running UK monitoring programme, and also from biogeochemical Argo floats. AMT provides measurements spanning more than 25 years directed through the centres of these gyres, but samples only 2 to 4 months per year and thus cannot resolve the seasonal variations, whereas the profiling floats give coverage throughout the year, but without the rigid spatial repeatability. These observational records are contrasted with representation of the centres of the gyres in two different biogeochemical models: MEDUSA and ERSEM, thus fulfilling one of AMT’s stated aims: the assessment of biogeochemical models. Whilst the four datasets show broadly the same seasonal patterns and that the DCM shallows when surface chlorophyll increases, the depth and peak concentration of the DCM differ among datasets. For most of the datasets the column-integrated chlorophyll for both gyres is around 19 mg m-2 (with the AMT fluorescence-derived values being much lower); however the MEDUSA model has a disparity between the northern and southern gyres that is not understood. Although the seasonal increase in surface chlorophyll is tied to a commensurate decrease in concentration at depth, on an interannual basis years with enhanced surface levels of chlorophyll correspond to increases at depth. Satellite-derived observations of surface chlorophyll concentration act as a good predictor of interannual changes in DCM depth for both gyres during their autumn season, but provide less skill in spring

    Inhalable Textile Microplastic Fibers Impair Airway Epithelial Differentiation

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    Rationale: Microplastics are a pressing global concern and inhalation of microplastic fibers has been associated with interstitial and bronchial inflammation in flock workers. However, how microplastic fibers affect the lungs is unknown. Objectives: Our aim was to assess the effects of 12x31 µm nylon 6,6 (nylon) and 15x52 µm polyethylene terephthalate (polyester) textile microplastic fibers on lung epithelial growth and differentiation. Methods: We used human and murine alveolar and airway-type organoids as well as air-liquid interface cultures derived from primary lung epithelial progenitor cells and incubated these with either nylon or polyester fibers or nylon leachate. In addition, mice received one dose of nylon fibers or nylon leachate and 7 days later organoid-forming capacity of isolated epithelial cells was investigated. Measurements and Main Results: We observed that nylon microfibers, more than polyester, inhibited developing airway organoids and not established ones. This effect was mediated by components leaching from nylon. Epithelial cells isolated from mice exposed to nylon fibers or leachate, also formed fewer airway organoids, suggesting long-lasting effects of nylon components on epithelial cells. Part of these effects were recapitulated in human air-liquid interface cultures. Transcriptome analysis revealed upregulation of Hoxa5 post-exposure to nylon fibers. Inhibiting Hoxa5 during nylon exposure restored airway organoid formation, confirming Hoxa5's pivotal role in the effects of nylon. Conclusions: These results suggest that components leaching from nylon 6,6 may especially harm developing airways and/or airways undergoing repair and we strongly encourage to characterize both hazard of and exposure to microplastic fibers in more detail

    Mediomastus fragilis and cirratulids in infralittoral mixed sediment

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    Modelling terrigenous DOC across the north west European Shelf: Fate of riverine input and impact on air-sea CO2 fluxes

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    Terrigenous carbon in aquatic systems is increasingly recognised as an important part of the global carbon cycle. Despite this, the fate and distribution of terrigenous dissolved organic carbon (tDOC) in coastal and oceanic systems is poorly understood. We have implemented a theoretical framework for the degradation of tDOC across the land to ocean continuum in a 3D hydrodynamical-biogeochemical model on the North West European Shelf. A key feature of this model is that both photochemical and bacterial tDOC degradation rates are age dependant constituting an advance in our ability to describe carbon cycling in the marine environment. Over the time period 1986-2015, 182±17 Gmol yr− 1 of riverine tDOC is input to the shelf. Results indicate that bacterial degradation is by far the most important process in removing tDOC on the shelf, contributing to 73±6 % (132±11 Gmol yr− 1 ) of the total removal flux, while 21±3 % (39±6 Gmol yr− 1 ) of riverine tDOC was advected away from the shelf and photochemical degradation removing 5±0.5 % of the riverine flux. Explicitly including tDOC in the model decreased the air-sea carbon dioxide (CO2) flux by 112±8 Gmol yr− 1 (4±0.4 %), an amount approximately equivalent to the CO2 released by the UK chemical industry in 2020. The reduction is equivalent to 62 % of the riverine tDOC input to the shelf while approximately 17 % of riverine input is incorporated into the foodweb. This work can improve the assumptions of the fate of tDOC by Earth System Models and demonstrates that the inclusion of tDOC in models can impact ecosystem dynamics and change predicted global carbon budgets for the ocean

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