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  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Key words Habitat choice ; Habitat complexity ; Predation ; Trade-off ; Latitude
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract The generality of mechanisms affecting habitat choice and grazing in seagrass meadows was evaluated in a latitudinal comparison of seagrass grazers from the temperate (60°N) Baltic Sea and the subtropical (30°N) Gulf of Mexico. Using similar habitat choice experiment set-ups in Finland and the USA, the role of food type, habitat complexity and predation hazard on habitat choice of the isopods Idotea baltica (Pallas) and Erichsonella attenuata Harger were tested. When shelter was provided by both living and artificial seagrass, epiphytic food resources on artificial vegetation were clearly preferred by both species, although Idotea was attracted to epiphyte-free seagrass when no alternative food was present. When choosing between food and shelter, both species preferred epiphytic food over shelter. However, under predation hazard of fish, Erichsonella clearly switched to the habitat offering shelter, while the presence of a predatory fish produced no preference for shelter by Idotea. Food type may be considered as an universal mechanism that partly determines the presence of grazers in seagrass habitats and is, in the absence of a predator, more important than shelter. Predation risk affected the behaviour of the grazers, but the response varied between species possibly due to varying importance of fish predation in the areas studied.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
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    In:  Supplement to: Yu, Lei; Boström, Christoffer; Franzenburg, Sören; Bayer, Till; Dagan, Tal; Reusch, Thorsten B H (2020): Somatic genetic drift and multilevel selection in a clonal seagrass. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 4(7), 952-962, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1196-4
    Publication Date: 2023-01-30
    Description: Cells in multicellular organisms are genetically heterogeneous owing to somatic mutations. The accumulation of somatic genetic variation in species undergoing asexual (or clonal) reproduction (termed modular species) may lead to phenotypic heterogeneity among modules. However, abundance and dynamics of somatic genetic variation under clonal growth, a widespread life history in nature, remain poorly understood. Here we show that branching events in a seagrass clone or genet leads to population bottlenecks at the cellular level and hence the evolution of genetically differentiated modules. Studying inter-module somatic genetic variation, we uncovered thousands of SNPs that segregated among modules. The strength of purifying selection on mosaic genetic variation was greater at the intra-module comparing with the inter-module level. Our study provides evidence for the operation of selection at multiple levels, of cell population and modules. Somatic genetic drift leads to the emergence of genetically unique modules; hence, modules in long-lived clonal species constitute an appropriate elementary level of selection and individuality.
    Keywords: Finland_Z.marina; HAND; Sampling by hand; Seagrass; Somatic genetic drift; Somatic mutation; Whole genome sequencing
    Type: Dataset
    Format: application/zip, 1.7 MBytes
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-11-21
    Description: Human activities and the resultant pressures they place on the marine environment have been widely demonstrated to contribute to habitat degradation, therefore, their identification and quantification is an essential step towards any meaningful restoration effort. The overall scope of MERCES Deliverable 1.2 is to review current knowledge regarding the major marine pressures placed upon marine ecosystems in EU waters and the mechanisms by which they impact habitats in order to determine potential restoration pathways. An understanding of their geographical distribution is critical for any local assessment of degradation, as well as for planning conservation and restoration actions. This information would ideally be in the form of maps, which: (a) compile single or multiple activities and pressures over broad scales, integrating and visualizing available data and allowing direct identification of aggregations as well as gaps and (b) may be overlaid with habitat maps (or any other map layer containing additional information), thus combining different data levels and producing new information to be used for example when implementing EU policies. The deliverable also documents typical example habitat case studies, the prominent impacts and consequences of activities and pressures towards the identification of possible restoration or mitigation actions. Finally the deliverable discusses pressures, assessments, marine spatial planning and blue growth potential. Activities and pressures are used in a strict sense, where marine activities are undertaken to satisfy the needs of societal drivers (e.g. aquaculture or tourism) and pressures are considered to be the mechanism through which an activity has an actual or potential effect on any part of the ecosystem (e.g. for demersal trawling activity, one pressure would be abrasion of the seabed). Habitats are addressed using a nested approach from large-scale geological features (e.g. shallow soft bottoms) to species-characterised habitats (e.g. Posidonia meadows) because of the way they are referred to in current policy documents which lack standard and precise definitions.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Miscellaneous , notRev
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-11-21
    Description: During the last decades, several EU Directives and other international legislations have generated a large number of national initiatives (e.g. marine atlases) and EU programmes on habitat mapping. Nevertheless, the outcomes of these initiatives are fragmented and, to our best knowledge, to date there is no systematic assessment regarding the nature, quality and availability of information across the European seas. One of the main goals of the MERCES project (www.merces-project.eu) is to produce a census of available maps of European key marine habitats, along with their degradation status and restoration potential in the European Seas, providing a potential basis for future discussion on restoration activities. MERCES is producing a census of European marine key habitat maps, degraded habitat maps and investigating key habitat restoration potential. To do this MERCES has i. reviewed known existing habitat maps of European regional seas and provided source citations for all of the information ii. reviewed degraded habitat map resources by regional sea and habitat type (e.g. seagrass, macroalgae, coral gardens, sponge aggregations, seamounts, vents), associated habitat deterioration (e.g. extent of decline), the most common human activities and pressures reported, and the recovery and restoration potential of these habitats iii. reviewed 6 key habitats (including kelp and macroalgal forests, seagrass meadows, coralligenous assemblages, coral gardens and deep-sea bottom communities) and linked 6 major habitat features, such as dynamics, connectivity, structural complexity and vulnerability, to consequences for restoration and the likelihood of restoration success
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Miscellaneous , notRev
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-07-18
    Description: A review of 573 studies on active restoration actions in the marine environment, published in the last 25 years, was carried out at global scale. We assessed how, where, at which spatial and temporal scales and under which socio-ecological settings restoration studies have been carried out, from very shallow to deep sea habitats. Results show that restoration efforts across habitats are increasing, especially in seagrasses and coral reefs, but never approached at ecosystem level. Targets, methods, response variables and standards are still very heterogeneous. Of the factors considered in the review, habitat, human impact intensity, realm and methods of restoration were found to be good determinant of restoration success. Short project duration (one-two years), small restoration areas (〈 1 ha), lack of controls and knowledge of baselines are still a limit for deriving generalities. Finally, restorations rarely consider future challenges linked to global change this impairing long-term success stories. Restoration science needs more robust approaches leading to the development of best practices (e.g. protocols, monitoring of the effects, reasons for failure) to be applied at spatial and temporal scales so as to answer to present and future disturbance regimes.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , notRev
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-05-27
    Description: As habitat mapping is crucially important for developing effective management and restoration plans, the aim of this work was to produce a census of available map resources at the European scale focusing on: a) key marine habitats; b) degraded habitats; c) human activities and pressures acting on degraded habitats, and d) the restoration potential of degraded habitats. Almost half of the 580 map records were derived from grey literature and web resources but contained no georeferenced files for download, thus limiting further use of the data. Biogeographical heterogeneity was observed and varied between the type and quality of information provided. This variability was mainly related to differences in research efforts and stakeholder focus. Habitat degradation was assessed in only 28% of the map records and was mostly carried out in a qualitative manner. Less than half of the map records included assessments on the recovery/restoration potential of the degraded habitats, with passive restoration by removal of human activities being the most commonly recommended measure. The current work has identified several gaps and challenges both in the thematic and geographic coverage of the available map resources, as well as in the approaches implemented for the harmonized assessment of habitat degradation. These should guide future mapping initiatives in order to more comprehensively support and advise the marine habitat restoration agenda for better meeting the objectives set in relevant policy documents and legislative acts in Europe.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , isiRev , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2020-04-08
    Description: To understand the restoration potential of degraded habitats, it is important to know the key processes and habitat features that allow for recovery after disturbance. As part of the EU (Horizon 2020) funded MERCES project, a group of European experts compiled and assessed current knowledge, from both past and ongoing restoration efforts, within the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the North-East Atlantic Ocean. The aim was to provide an expert judgment of how different habitat features could impact restoration success and enhance the recovery of marine habitats. A set of biological and ecological features (i.e., life-history traits, population connectivity, spatial distribution, structural complexity, and the potential for regime shifts) were identified and scored according to their contribution to the successful accomplishment of habitat restoration for five habitats: seagrass meadows, kelp forests, Cystoseira macroalgal beds, coralligenous assemblages and cold-water coral habitats. The expert group concluded that most of the kelp forests features facilitate successful restoration, while the features for the coralligenous assemblages and the cold-water coral habitat did not promote successful restoration. For the other habitats the conclusions were much more variable. The lack of knowledge on the relationship between acting pressures and resulting changes in the ecological state of habitats is a major challenge for implementing restoration actions. This paper provides an overview of essential features that can affect restoration success in marine habitats of key importance for valuable ecosystem services.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , isiRev , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2022-01-03
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , isiRev , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2023-09-18
    Description: Marine ecosystem engineers such as seagrasses and bivalves create important coastal habitats sustaining high biodiversity and ecosystem services. Restoring these habitats is difficult due to the importance of feedback mechanisms that can require large-scale efforts to ensure success. Incorporating facilitative interactions could increase the feasibility and success of small-scale restoration efforts, which would limit pressure on donor sites and reduce costs and time associated with restoration. Here, we tested two methods for providing facilitation in small-scale eelgrass (Zostera marina) restoration plots across northern Europe: (1) co-restoration with blue mussels (Mytilus edulis, M. trossulus); and (2) the use of biodegradable establishment structures (BESEs). Eelgrass-mussel co-restoration showed promise in aquaria, where eelgrass growth was nearly twice as high in treatments with medium and high mussel densities than in treatments without mussels. However, this did not translate to higher shoot length or shoot densities in subsequent field experiments. Rather, hydrodynamic exposure limited both eelgrass and mussel survival, especially in the most exposed sites. The use of BESEs showed more potential in enabling small-scale restoration success: they effectively enhanced eelgrass survival and reduced mussel loss, and showed potential for enabling mussel recruitment in one site. However, eelgrass planted in BESE plots along with mussels had a lower survival rate than eelgrass planted in BESE plots without mussels. Overall, we show that though co-restoration did not work at small scales, facilitation by using artificial structures (BESEs) can increase early eelgrass survival and success of small-scale eelgrass and bivalve restoration.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , peerRev
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2023-09-18
    Description: Coastal ecosystem functioning often hinges on habitat-forming foundation species that engage in positive interactions (e.g. facilitation and mutualism) to reduce environmental stress. Seagrasses are important foundation species in coastal zones but are rapidly declining with losses typically linked to intensifying global change-related environmental stress. There is growing evidence that loss or disruption of positive interactions can amplify coastal ecosystem degradation as it compromises its stress mitigating capacity. Multiple recent studies highlight that seagrass can engage in a facultative mutualistic relationship with lucinid bivalves that alleviate sulphide toxicity. So far, however, the generality of this mutualism, and how its strength and relative importance depend on environmental conditions, remains to be investigated. Here we study the importance of the seagrass-lucinid mutualistic interaction on a continental-scale using a field survey across Europe. We found that the lucinid bivalve Loripes orbiculatus is associated with the seagrasses Zostera noltii and Zostera marina across a large latitudinal range. At locations where the average minimum temperature was above 1 °C, L. orbiculatus was present in 79% of the Zostera meadows; whereas, it was absent below this temperature. At locations above this minimum temperature threshold, mud content was the second most important determinant explaining the presence or absence of L. orbiculatus. Further analyses suggest that the presence of the lucinids have a positive effect on seagrass biomass by mitigating sulphide stress. Finally, results of a structural equation model (SEM) support the existence of a mutualistic feedback between L. orbiculatus and Z. noltii. We argue that this seagrass-lucinid mutualism should be more solidly integrated into management practices to improve seagrass ecosystem resilience to global change as well as the success of restoration efforts.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , peerRev
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