Recent Submissions

  • Yaoundé-like virus in resident wild bird, Ghana

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Vázquez, Ana; Asante, Ivy; Bonney, Kofi; Odoom, Shirley; Puplampu, Naiki; Ampofo, William; Sánchez-Seco, María Paz; Tenorio, Antonio; Peterson, A. Townsend; University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Departamento de Zoología y Antropología Física, Complutense Universidad, Madrid 28040, Spain; Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Institute of Health Carlos III, Majadahonda, Spain; Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Accra, Ghana (Academic journals, 2012-03-09)
    Tissue and swab samples from 551 wild birds collected in Ghana (October-November 2007) were assayed for alphaviruses, flaviviruses, and influenza A viruses using polymerase chain (PCR) techniques. One pool sample tested positive for Flavivirus RNA; further testing revealed that the amplified sequence was Yaoundé virus (YAOV), or closely related to it. YAOV is an apparently rare Flavivirus closely related to medically important human pathogens Japanese Encephalitis virus and West Nile virus. It is known only from West Africa. This is the first detection from Ghana, and only the second detection from a bird. Samples were negative for alphaviruses and Influenza A virus.
  • Avian influenza infections in non-migratant land birds in Andean Peru

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Segovia-Hinostroza, Karen; Ghersi, Bruno M.; Gonzaga, Victor; Peterson, A. Townsend; Montgomery, Joel M.; Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA; Departamento de Zoologı´a y Antropologıa Fısica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, C/Jose Antonio Novais, 2 Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain; Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria de Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Av. Circunvalacion Cdra. 28 San Borja, Lima, Peru; United States Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Unit 6, Av. Venezuela Cdra. 36, Callao 2, Lima, Peru (Wildlife Disease Association, 2012-06-13)
    As part of ongoing surveillance for avian influenza viruses (AIV) in Peruvian birds, in June 2008, we sampled 600 land birds of 177 species, using real-time reverse-transcription PCR. We addressed the assumption that AIV prevalence is low or nil among land birds, a hypothesis that was not supported by the results—rather, we found AIV infections at relatively high prevalences in birds of the orders Apodiformes (hummingbirds) and Passeriformes (songbirds). Surveillance programs for monitoring spread and identification of AIV should thus not focus solely on water birds.
  • Herbicides increase the vulnerability of corals to rising sea surface temperature

    Negri, Andrew P.; Flores, Florita; Röthig, Till; Uthicke, Sven; Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland, Australia (Wiley, 2011-02-03)
    In order to examine the potential interactive pressures of local pollution and global climate change, we exposed corals and crustose coralline algae (CCA) to three agricultural photosystem II (PSII) herbicides at four temperatures (26–32°C). The coral Acropora millepora was 3‐ to 10‐fold more sensitive to the three herbicides than the CCA Neogoniolithon fosliei. While the photosynthesis of CCA was not affected by the herbicide concentrations used (< 1 μg L−1), temperatures of 31°C and 32°C alone significantly inhibited photosynthetic efficiency (ΔF:F′m) and caused chronic photoinhibition (reduced Fv:Fm) and substantial bleaching. Environmentally relevant concentrations of each herbicide increased the negative effects of thermal stress on coral at 31°C and 32°C. Mixed model analyses of variance showed that the effects of elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) and herbicide on photosynthetic efficiency of coral symbionts were additive. Furthermore, the effect of either diuron or atrazine in combination with higher SST (31°C and 32°C) on chronic photoinhibition was distinctly greater than additive (synergistic). Reducing the herbicide concentration by 1 μg L−1 diuron above 30°C would protect photosynthetic efficiency by the equivalent of 1.8°C and reduce chronic photoinhibition by the equivalent of a 1°C reduction. Reduced water quality increases the vulnerability of corals to elevated SSTs, and effective management of local water quality can reduce negative effects of global stressors such as elevated SST.
  • Life history, environment and extinction of the scallop Carolinapecten eboreus (Conrad) in the Plio-Pleistocene of the U.S. eastern seaboard.

    Johnson, Andrew L. A.; Valentine, Annemarie M.; Leng, Melanie J.; Schöne, Bernd R.; Sloane, Hilary J.; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University; British Geological Survey; University of Mainz (SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), 2019-02-01)
    Plio-Pleistocene mass extinction of marine bivalves on the U.S. eastern seaboard has been attributed to declines in temperature and primary production. We investigate the relationship of growth rate in the scallop Carolinapecten eboreus to variation in these parameters to determine which contributed to its extinction. We use ontogenetic profiles of shell d18O to estimate growth rate and seasonal temperature, microgrowth-increment data to validate d18O-based figures for growth rate, and shell d13C to supplement assemblage evidence of production. Postlarval growth started in the spring/summer in individuals from the Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain but in the autumn/winter in some from the Gulf Coastal Plain. Growth rate typically declined with age and was usually higher in summer than winter. Many individuals died in winter but the largest forms typically died in spring, possibly on spawning for the first time. No individuals lived longer than two years and some grew exceedingly fast overall, up to 60% more rapidly than any other scallop species (, 145.7 mm in a year). Faster growth was generally achieved by secreting more rather than larger microgrowth increments. Some very fast-growing individuals lived in settings of high production and low temperature. No individuals grew slowly under high production whereas most if not all grew slowly under ‘average’ production and low temperature. In that the rapid growth evidently enabled by high production would have afforded protection from predators, Plio-Pleistocene decline in production was probably contributory to the extinction of C. eboreus. However, the negative impact of low temperature on growth under ‘average’ production suggests that temperature decline played some part.
  • Polymerase chain reaction detection of avipox and avian papillomavirus in naturally infected wild birds: comparisons of blood, swab and tissue samples

    Williams, Richard A. J.; Escudero Duch, Clara; Pérez-Tris, Javier; Benítez, Laura; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid, Spain; Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain (Taylor & Francis Group, 2014-03-04)
    Avian poxvirus (avipox) is widely reported from avian species, causing cutaneous or mucosal lesions. Mortality rates of up to 100% are recorded in some hosts. Three major avipox clades are recognized. Several diagnostic techniques have been reported, with molecular techniques used only recently. Avipox has been reported from 278 different avian species, but only 111 of these involved sequence and/or strain identification. Collecting samples from wild birds is challenging as only few wild bird individuals or species may be symptomatic. Also, sampling regimes are tightly regulated and the most efficient sampling method, whole bird collection, is ethically challenging. In this study, three alternative sampling techniques (blood, cutaneous swabs and tissue biopsies) from symptomatic wild birds were examined. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect avipoxvirus and avian papillomavirus (which also induces cutaneous lesions in birds). Four out of 14 tissue samples were positive but all 29 blood samples and 22 swab samples were negative for papillomavirus. All 29 blood samples were negative but 6/22 swabs and 9/14 tissue samples were avipox-positive. The difference between the numbers of positives generated from tissue samples and from swabs was not significant. The difference in the avipox-positive specimens in paired swab (4/6) and tissue samples (6/6) was also not significant. These results therefore do not show the superiority of swab or tissue samples over each other. However, both swab (6/22) and tissue (8/9) samples yielded significantly more avipox-positive cases than blood samples, which are therefore not recommended for sampling these viruses.
  • Endemicity and climatic niche differentiation in three marine ciliated protists

    Williams, Richard, A.J.; Owens, Hannah, L; Clamp, John; Peterson, A Townsend; Warren, Alan; Martin-Cereceda, Mercedes; Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems, Linnaeus University, SE-391 82, Kalmar, Sweden; Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA; Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain; Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA; Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707, USA; Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK; Department of Genetics, Physiology and Microbiology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), 2018-07-18)
    The biogeographic pattern of single‐celled eukaryotes (protists), including ciliates, is poorly understood. Most marine species are believed to have a relatively high dispersal potential, such that both globally distributed and geographically isolated taxa exist. Primary occurrence data for three large, easily identified ciliate species, Parafavella gigantea, Schmidingerella serrata, and Zoothamnium pelagicum, and environmental data drawn from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's World Ocean Atlas were used to estimate each species’ spatial and environmental distributions using Maxent v3.3.3k. The predictive power of the models was tested with a series of spatial stratification studies, which were evaluated using partial receiver operating characteristic (ROC) statistics. Differences between niches occupied by each taxon were evaluated using background similarity tests. All predictions showed significant ability to anticipate test points. The null hypotheses of niche similarity were rejected in all background similarity tests comparing the niches among the three species. This article provides the first quantitative assessment of environmental conditions associated with three species of ciliates and a first estimate of their spatial distributions in the North Atlantic, which can serve as a benchmark against which to document distributional shifts. These species follow consistent, predictable patterns related to climate and environmental biochemistry; the importance of climatic conditions as regards protist distributions is noteworthy considering the effects of global climate change.
  • Molecular identification of papillomavirus in ducks

    Williams, Richard, A.J.; Tolf, Conny; Waldenström, Jonas; Linnaeus University (Nature Research, 2018-06-14)
    Papillomaviruses infect many vertebrates, including birds. Persistent infections by some strains can cause malignant proliferation of cells (i.e. cancer), though more typically infections cause benign tumours, or may be completely subclinical. Sometimes extensive, persistent tumours are recorded– notably in chaffinches and humans. In 2016, a novel papillomavirus genotype was characterized from a duck faecal microbiome, in Bhopal, India; the sixth papillomavirus genotype from birds. Prompted by this finding, we screened 160 cloacal swabs and 968 faecal samples collected from 299 ducks sampled at Ottenby Bird Observatory, Sweden in 2015, using a newly designed real-time PCR. Twenty one samples (1.9%) from six individuals (2%) were positive. Eighteen sequences were identical to the published genotype, duck papillomavirus 1. One additional novel genotype was recovered from three samples. Both genotypes were recovered from a wild strain domestic mallard that was infected for more than 60 days with each genotype. All positive individuals were adult (P = 0.004). Significantly more positive samples were detected from swabs than faecal samples (P < 0.0001). Sample type data suggests transmission may be via direct contact, and only infrequently, via the oral-faecal route. Infection in only adult birds supports the hypothesis that this virus is sexually transmitted, though more work is required to verify this.
  • A century of Shope Papillomavirus in museum rabbit specimens

    Duch, Clara Esucdero; Williams, Richard, A.J.; Timm, Robert M; Perez-Tris, Javier; Benitez, Laura; Department of Microbiology III, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid,; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (Public Library of Science, 2015-07-06)
    Sylvilagus floridanus Papillomavirus (SfPV) causes growth of large horn-like tumors on rabbits. SfPV was described in cottontail rabbits (probably Sylvilagus floridanus) from Kansa and Iowa by Richard Shope in 1933, and detected in S. audubonii in 2011. It is known almost exclusively from the US Midwest. We explored the University of Kansas Natural History Museum for historical museum specimens infected with SfPV, using molecular techniques, to assess if additional wild species host SfPV, and whether SfPV occurs throughout the host range, or just in the Midwest. Secondary aims were to detect distinct strains, and evidence for strain spatio-temporal specificity. We found 20 of 1395 rabbits in the KU collection SfPV symptomatic. Three of 17 lagomorph species (S. nuttallii, and the two known hosts) were symptomatic, while Brachylagus, Lepus and eight additional Sylvilagus species were not. 13 symptomatic individuals were positive by molecular testing, including the first S. nuttallii detection. Prevalence of symptomatic individuals was significantly higher in Sylvilagus (1.8%) than Lepus. Half of these specimens came from Kansas, though new molecular detections were obtained from Jalisco—Mexico’s first—and Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, USA. We document the oldest lab-confirmed case (Kansas, 1915), predating Shope’s first case. SfPV amplification was possible from 63.2% of symptomatic museum specimens. Using multiple methodologies, rolling circle amplification and, multiple isothermal displacement amplification in addition to PCR, greatly improved detection rates. Short sequences were obtained from six individuals for two genes. L1 gene sequences were identical to all previously detected sequences; E7 gene sequences, were more variable, yielding five distinct SfPV1 strains that differing by less than 2% from strains circulating in the Midwest and Mexico, between 1915 and 2005. Our results do not clarify whether strains are host species specific, though they are consistent with SfPV specificity to genus Sylvilagus.
  • Spatio-temporal dynamics and aetiology of proliferative leg skin lesions in wild British finches

    Lawson, Becki; Robinson, Robert A.; Fernandez, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos; John, Shinto K.; Benitez, Laura; Tolf, Conny; Risely, Kate; Toms, Mike P.; Cunningham, Andrew A.; Williams, Richard, A.J.; Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK.; British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, UK.; IDEXX Laboratories Limited, Grange House, Sandbeck Way, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 7DN, UK.; Departamento de Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040, Madrid, Spain.; Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology, EEMiS, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, 391 82, Sweden; Departamento de Biodiversidad, Ecología y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040, Madrid, Spain (Nature Publiching Group, 2018-10-10)
    Proliferative leg skin lesions have been described in wild finches in Europe although there have been no large-scale studies of their aetiology or epizootiology to date. Firstly, disease surveillance, utilising public reporting of observations of live wild finches was conducted in Great Britain (GB) and showed proliferative leg skin lesions in chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) to be widespread. Seasonal variation was observed, with a peak during the winter months. Secondly, pathological investigations were performed on a sample of 39 chaffinches, four bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), one greenfinch (Chloris chloris) and one goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) with proliferative leg skin lesions and detected Cnemidocoptes sp. mites in 91% (41/45) of affected finches and from all species examined. Fringilla coelebs papillomavirus (FcPV1) PCR was positive in 74% (23/31) of birds tested: a 394 base pair sequence was derived from 20 of these birds, from all examined species, with 100% identity to reference genomes. Both mites and FcPV1 DNA were detected in 71% (20/28) of birds tested for both pathogens. Histopathological examination of lesions did not discriminate the relative importance of mite or FcPV1 infection as their cause. Development of techniques to localise FcPV1 within lesions is required to elucidate the pathological significance of FcPV1 DNA detection.
  • Prevalence and genetic diversity of Avipoxvirus in house sparrows in Spain

    Ruiz-Martinez, Jorge; Ferraguti, Martina; Figuerola, Jorge; Martinez-de la Puente, Josue; Williams, Richard, A.J.; Herrera-Duenas, Amparo; Aguirre, Jose I; Soriguer, R; Escudero-Duch, Clara; Moens, Mikael, AJ; Perez-Tris, Javier; Benitez, Laura; Departamento de Microbiologia III, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid,; Estacion Biologica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Sevilla, Spain,; CIBER Epidemiologia y Salud Publica (CIBERESP), Spain; Departamento de Zoologia y Antropologia Fisica, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain (Public Library of Science, 2016-12-22)
    Avipoxvirus (APV) is a fairly common virus affecting birds that causes morbidity and mortality in wild and captive birds. We studied the prevalence of pox-like lesions and genetic diversity of APV in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in natural, agricultural and urban areas in southern Spain in 2013 and 2014 and in central Spain for 8 months (2012±2013). Overall, 3.2% of 2,341 house sparrows visually examined in southern Spain had cutaneous lesions consistent with avian pox. A similar prevalence (3%) was found in 338 birds from central Spain. Prevalence was higher in hatch-year birds than in adults. We did not detect any clear spatial or temporal patterns of APV distribution. Molecular analyses of poxvirus-like lesions revealed that 63% of the samples were positive. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses of 29 DNA sequences from the fpv167 gene, detected two strains belonging to the canarypox clade (subclades B1 and B2) previously found in Spain. One of them appears predominant in Iberia and North Africa and shares 70% similarity to fowlpox and canarypox virus. This APV strain has been identified in a limited number of species in the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco and Hungary. The second one has a global distribution and has been found in numerous wild bird species around the world. To our knowledge, this represents the largest study of avian poxvirus disease in the broadly distributed house sparrow and strongly supports the findings that Avipox prevalence in this species in South and central Spain is moderate and the genetic diversity low.
  • Potential of Retrofitting Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Using an Integrated Geographical Information System Remote Sensing Based Approach

    Ferrier, G.; Milan, D.; Keat Yew, C.; Pope, R.J.; University of Hull; University of Derby (2018-12-06)
    Flooding is a major problem in urban areas worldwide. Methodologies that can rapidly assess the scale and identify the reasons causing these flooding events at minimal cost are urgently required. This study has used the City of Kingston-upon-Hull to evaluate the capability of an integrated remote sensing and geographical information system based approach to provide the critical information on the spatial extent of flooding and flood water volumes and overcome the limitations in current monitoring based on ground-based visual mapping and household flooding surveys. Airborne and Terrestrial LiDAR datasets were combined with digital aerial photography, flood assessment surveys, and maps of housing, infrastructure and the sewer network. The integration of these datasets provided an enhanced understanding of the sources and pathways of the flood water runoff, accurate quantification of the water volumes associated with each flooding event and the identification of the optimum locations and size of potential retrofit Sustainable Urban Drainage systems.
  • Involving recreational snorkelers in inventory improvement or creation: a case study in the Indian Ocean.

    Bourjon, Philippe; Ducarme, Frédéric; Quod, Jean-Pascal; Sweet, Michael J.; University of Derby (CNRS - Station Biologique de Roscoff., 2018-03)
    Four amateur naturalists and underwater photographers established sixty first records and discovered three species probably new to science at Reunion Island (Indian Ocean) between January 2010 and January 2016, although the marine environment of this island has been studied for some forty years by professional scientists. These results were achieved after snorkeling in coastal areas at a maximum depth of 2 m. All records were validated by professional experts of the relevant groups, with appropriate reservations for photograph-based identifications. The analysis of the methodology used by this group of reef observers highlights three central elements: individual initiative, regular random-path snorkeling practice by local observers, and availability of correspondent observers with sufficient naturalist skills to select accurate data and manage an optimal link with professional scientists. Such achievement emphasizes the efficiency of a citizen- based approach aimed at creating or improving local fauna inventories and discovering new species. Considering that ecological data can be collected during observers' random-path snorkeling sessions, such a project is also of interest for local conservationists and marine ecosystems managers. We therefore recommend the inclusion of these practices in the process of designing standardised observation programs aimed at non-professionals everywhere snorkeling can be practiced, especially in under-studied regions.
  • Xestospongia testudinaria nighttime mass spawning observation in Indonesia.

    RÖTHIG, Till; VOOLSTRA, Christian R; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Red Sea Research Center, Division of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Red Sea Research Center, Division of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (The Japanese Coral Reef Society, 2016-10-13)
  • Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea.

    Roik, Anna; Roder, Cornelia; Röthig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Springer., 2015-12-14)
    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatioseasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a crossshelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.
  • Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome.

    Röthig, Till; Ochsenkühn, Michael A.; Roik, Anna; van der Merwe, Riaan; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia; Biological and Organometallic Catalysis Laboratories; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Thuwal 23955-6900 Saudi Arabia (Wiley., 2016-02-03)
    Scleractinian corals are assumed to be stenohaline osmoconformers, although they are frequently subjected to variations in seawater salinity due to precipitation, freshwater run-off and other processes. Observed responses to altered salinity levels include differences in photosynthetic performance, respiration and increased bleaching and mortality of the coral host and its algal symbiont, but a study looking at bacterial community changes is lacking. Here, we exposed the coral Fungia granulosa to strongly increased salinity levels in short- and long-term experiments to disentangle temporal and compartment effects of the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae and associated bacteria). Our results show a significant reduction in calcification and photosynthesis, but a stable microbiome after short-term exposure to high-salinity levels. By comparison, long-term exposure yielded unchanged photosynthesis levels and visually healthy coral colonies indicating long-term acclimation to high-salinity levels that were accompanied by a major coral microbiome restructuring. Importantly, a bacterium in the family Rhodobacteraceae was succeeded by Pseudomonas veronii as the numerically most abundant taxon. Further, taxonomy-based functional profiling indicates a shift in the bacterial community towards increased osmolyte production, sulphur oxidation and nitrogen fixation. Our study highlights that bacterial community composition in corals can change within days to weeks under altered environmental conditions, where shifts in the microbiome may enable adjustment of the coral to a more advantageous holobiont composition.
  • Marine climate and hydrography of the Coralline Crag (early Pliocene, UK): isotopic evidence from 16 benthic invertebrate taxa.

    Vignols, Rebecca M.; Valentine, Annemarie M.; Finlayson, Alana G.; Harper, Elizabeth M.; Schöne, Bernd R.; Leng, Melanie J.; Sloane, Hilary J.; Johnson, Andrew L. A.; University of Derby; University of Cambridge; University of Mainz; British Geological Survey (Elsevier, 2018-05-24)
    The taxonomic composition of the biota of the Coralline Crag Formation (early Pliocene, eastern England) provides conflicting evidence of seawater temperature during deposition, some taxa indicating cool temperate conditions by analogy with modern representatives or relatives, others warm temperate to subtropical/tropical conditions. Previous isotopic (δ18O) evidence of seasonal seafloor temperatures from serial ontogenetic sampling of bivalve mollusk shells indicated cool temperate winter (< 10 °C) and/or summer (< 20 °C) conditions but was limited to nine profiles from two species, one ranging into and one occurring exclusively in cool temperate settings at present. We supplement these results with six further profiles from the species concerned and supply seven more from three other taxa (two supposedly indicative of warm waters) to provide an expanded and more balanced database. We also supply isotopic temperature estimates from 81 spot and whole-shell samples from these five taxa and 11 others, encompassing ‘warm’, ‘cool’ and ‘eurythermal’ forms by analogy with modern representatives or relatives. Preservation tests show no shell alteration. Subject to reasonable assumptions about water δ18O, the shell δ18O data either strongly indicate or are at least consistent with cool temperate seafloor conditions. The subtropical/tropical conditions suggested by the presence of the bryozoan Metrarabdotos did not exist. Microgrowth-increment and δ13C evidence indicate summer water-column stratification during deposition of the Ramsholt Member, unlike in the adjacent southern North Sea at present (well mixed due to shallow depth and strong tidal currents). Summer maximum surface temperature was probably about 5 °C above seafloor temperature and thus often slightly higher than now (17–19 °C rather than 16–17 °C), but only sometimes in the warm temperate range. Winter minimum surface temperature was below 10 °C and possibly the same as at present (6–7 °C). An expanded surface temperature range compared to now may reflect withdrawal of oceanic heat supply in conjunction with higher global temperature.
  • Distinct bacterial communities associated with the coral model Aiptasia in aposymbiotic and symbiotic states with Symbiodinium.

    Röthig, Till; Costa, Rúben M.; Simona, Fabia; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Torres, Ana F.; Radhakrishnan, Anand; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Frontiers, 2016-11-18)
    Coral reefs are in decline. The basic functional unit of coral reefs is the coral metaorganism or holobiont consisting of the cnidarian host animal, symbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium, and a specific consortium of bacteria (among others), but research is slow due to the difficulty of working with corals. Aiptasia has proven to be a tractable model system to elucidate the intricacies of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses, but characterization of the associated bacterial microbiome is required to provide a complete and integrated understanding of holobiont function. In this work, we characterize and analyze the microbiome of aposymbiotic and symbiotic Aiptasia and show that bacterial associates are distinct in both conditions. We further show that key microbial associates can be cultured without their cnidarian host. Our results suggest that bacteria play an important role in the symbiosis of Aiptasia with Symbiodinium, a finding that underlines the power of the Aiptasia model system where cnidarian hosts can be analyzed in aposymbiotic and symbiotic states. The characterization of the native microbiome and the ability to retrieve culturable isolates contributes to the resources available for the Aiptasia model system. This provides an opportunity to comparatively analyze cnidarian metaorganisms as collective functional holobionts and as separated member species. We hope that this will accelerate research into understanding the intricacies of coral biology, which is urgently needed to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of environmental change.
  • Year-long monitoring of physico-chemical and biological variables provide a comparative baseline of coral reef functioning in the central Red Sea.

    Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Ziegler, Maren; Kremb, Stephan G.; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (2016-11-09)
  • Captive rearing of the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea demonstrates remarkable physiological plasticity

    Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Müller, Paul J.; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia (2015-01-20)
    The presence of the cosmopolitan deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula has recently been documented in the Red Sea, occurring in warm (>20 ◦C), oxygen- and nutrient-limited habitats. We collected colonies of this species from the central Red Sea that successfully resided in aquaria for more than one year. During this period the corals were exposed to increased oxygen levels and nutrition ad libitum unlike in their natural habitat. Specimens of long-term reared E. fistula colonies were incubated for 24 h and calcification (G) as well as respiration rates (R) were measured. In comparison to on-board measurements of G and R rates on freshly collected specimens, we found that G was increased while R was decreased. E. fistula shows extensive tissue growth and polyp proliferation in aquaculture and can be kept at conditions that notably differ from its natural habitat. Its ability to cope with rapid and prolonged changes in regard to prevailing environmental conditions indicates a wide physiological plasticity. This may explain in part the cosmopolitan distribution of this species and emphasizes its value as a deep-sea coral model to study mechanisms of acclimation and adaptation.
  • Repeated observations of cetaceans and carcharhiniformes associations in the Red Sea

    Röthig, Till; Spaet, Julia L. Y.; Kattan, Alexander; Schulz, Isabelle K.; Roberts, May; Roik, Anna; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Springer, 2015-06-27)

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