Publications by authors named "Moriaki Yasuhara"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Seabird establishment during regional cooling drove a terrestrial ecosystem shift 5000 years ago.

Sci Adv 2020 Oct 23;6(43). Epub 2020 Oct 23.

School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA.

The coastal tussac () grasslands of the Falkland Islands are a critical seabird breeding habitat but have been drastically reduced by grazing and erosion. Meanwhile, the sensitivity of seabirds and tussac to climate change is unknown because of a lack of long-term records in the South Atlantic. Our 14,000-year multiproxy record reveals an ecosystem state shift following seabird establishment 5000 years ago, as marine-derived nutrients from guano facilitated tussac establishment, peat productivity, and increased fire. Seabird arrival coincided with regional cooling, suggesting that the Falkland Islands are a cold-climate refugium. Conservation efforts focusing on tussac restoration should include this terrestrial-marine linkage, although a warming Southern Ocean calls into question the long-term viability of the Falkland Islands as habitat for low-latitude seabirds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb2788DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608832PMC
October 2020

Coral reef diversity losses in China's Greater Bay Area were driven by regional stressors.

Sci Adv 2020 Oct 2;6(40). Epub 2020 Oct 2.

The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, Cape D'Aguilar Road, Shek O, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Observations of coral reef losses to climate change far exceed our understanding of historical degradation before anthropogenic warming. This is a critical gap to fill as conservation efforts simultaneously work to reverse climate change while restoring coral reef diversity and function. Here, we focused on southern China's Greater Bay Area, where coral communities persist despite centuries of coral mining, fishing, dredging, development, and pollution. We compared subfossil assemblages with modern-day communities and revealed a 40% decrease in generic diversity, concomitant to a shift from competitive to stress-tolerant species dominance since the mid-Holocene. Regions with characteristically poor water quality-high chl-, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and turbidity-had lower contemporary diversity and the greatest community composition shift observed in the past, driven by the near extirpation of These observations highlight the urgent need to mitigate local stressors from development in concert with curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb1046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852383PMC
October 2020

Climate change considerations are fundamental to management of deep-sea resource extraction.

Glob Chang Biol 2020 09 6;26(9):4664-4678. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

School of Biological Sciences and Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Climate change manifestation in the ocean, through warming, oxygen loss, increasing acidification, and changing particulate organic carbon flux (one metric of altered food supply), is projected to affect most deep-ocean ecosystems concomitantly with increasing direct human disturbance. Climate drivers will alter deep-sea biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and may interact with disturbance from resource extraction activities or even climate geoengineering. We suggest that to ensure the effective management of increasing use of the deep ocean (e.g., for bottom fishing, oil and gas extraction, and deep-seabed mining), environmental management and developing regulations must consider climate change. Strategic planning, impact assessment and monitoring, spatial management, application of the precautionary approach, and full-cost accounting of extraction activities should embrace climate consciousness. Coupled climate and biological modeling approaches applied in the water and on the seafloor can help accomplish this goal. For example, Earth-System Model projections of climate-change parameters at the seafloor reveal heterogeneity in projected climate hazard and time of emergence (beyond natural variability) in regions targeted for deep-seabed mining. Models that combine climate-induced changes in ocean circulation with particle tracking predict altered transport of early life stages (larvae) under climate change. Habitat suitability models can help assess the consequences of altered larval dispersal, predict climate refugia, and identify vulnerable regions for multiple species under climate change. Engaging the deep observing community can support the necessary data provisioning to mainstream climate into the development of environmental management plans. To illustrate this approach, we focus on deep-seabed mining and the International Seabed Authority, whose mandates include regulation of all mineral-related activities in international waters and protecting the marine environment from the harmful effects of mining. However, achieving deep-ocean sustainability under the UN Sustainable Development Goals will require integration of climate consideration across all policy sectors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496832PMC
September 2020

Past and future decline of tropical pelagic biodiversity.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 06 26;117(23):12891-12896. Epub 2020 May 26.

Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, 903-0213 Okinawa, Japan.

A major research question concerning global pelagic biodiversity remains unanswered: when did the apparent tropical biodiversity depression (i.e., bimodality of latitudinal diversity gradient [LDG]) begin? The bimodal LDG may be a consequence of recent ocean warming or of deep-time evolutionary speciation and extinction processes. Using rich fossil datasets of planktonic foraminifers, we show here that a unimodal (or only weakly bimodal) diversity gradient, with a plateau in the tropics, occurred during the last ice age and has since then developed into a bimodal gradient through species distribution shifts driven by postglacial ocean warming. The bimodal LDG likely emerged before the Anthropocene and industrialization, and perhaps ∼15,000 y ago, indicating a strong environmental control of tropical diversity even before the start of anthropogenic warming. However, our model projections suggest that future anthropogenic warming further diminishes tropical pelagic diversity to a level not seen in millions of years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1916923117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293716PMC
June 2020

Ecological variables for developing a global deep-ocean monitoring and conservation strategy.

Nat Ecol Evol 2020 02 3;4(2):181-192. Epub 2020 Feb 3.

School of Biological Sciences and Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

The deep sea (>200 m depth) encompasses >95% of the world's ocean volume and represents the largest and least explored biome on Earth (<0.0001% of ocean surface), yet is increasingly under threat from multiple direct and indirect anthropogenic pressures. Our ability to preserve both benthic and pelagic deep-sea ecosystems depends upon effective ecosystem-based management strategies and monitoring based on widely agreed deep-sea ecological variables. Here, we identify a set of deep-sea essential ecological variables among five scientific areas of the deep ocean: (1) biodiversity; (2) ecosystem functions; (3) impacts and risk assessment; (4) climate change, adaptation and evolution; and (5) ecosystem conservation. Conducting an expert elicitation (1,155 deep-sea scientists consulted and 112 respondents), our analysis indicates a wide consensus amongst deep-sea experts that monitoring should prioritize large organisms (that is, macro- and megafauna) living in deep waters and in benthic habitats, whereas monitoring of ecosystem functioning should focus on trophic structure and biomass production. Habitat degradation and recovery rates are identified as crucial features for monitoring deep-sea ecosystem health, while global climate change will likely shift bathymetric distributions and cause local extinction in deep-sea species. Finally, deep-sea conservation efforts should focus primarily on vulnerable marine ecosystems and habitat-forming species. Deep-sea observation efforts that prioritize these variables will help to support the implementation of effective management strategies on a global scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-1091-zDOI Listing
February 2020

Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters.

Science 2018 01;359(6371)

State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China.

Oxygen is fundamental to life. Not only is it essential for the survival of individual animals, but it regulates global cycles of major nutrients and carbon. The oxygen content of the open ocean and coastal waters has been declining for at least the past half-century, largely because of human activities that have increased global temperatures and nutrients discharged to coastal waters. These changes have accelerated consumption of oxygen by microbial respiration, reduced solubility of oxygen in water, and reduced the rate of oxygen resupply from the atmosphere to the ocean interior, with a wide range of biological and ecological consequences. Further research is needed to understand and predict long-term, global- and regional-scale oxygen changes and their effects on marine and estuarine fisheries and ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aam7240DOI Listing
January 2018

Past emergent phase of Shatsky Rise deep-marine igneous plateau.

Sci Rep 2017 11 13;7(1):15423. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Hokkaido University, N10W8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0810, Japan.

The Cretaceous Period stands out in Earth's geologic history by ubiquitous and sustained massive eruption of lava, forming several enormous igneous plateaus in the ocean basins worldwide. It has been proposed that the subaerial phases of Cretaceous oceanic plateau formation spurred the global environmental deterioration, yet this view is supported by patchy fossil and/or rock evidence for uplifting of the plateau summits above the sea level. Reported here is by far the most comprehensive case of Cretaceous plateau emergence at northern Shatsky Rise, Northwest Pacific, based on the integration of unique micropalaeontological and seismic evidence. From just above the flat-topped igneous edifice, recent Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (at Site U1346) recovered early Cretaceous (Hauterivian) ostracod and foraminiferal assemblages showing marked shallow-marine preferences. Most intriguing discovery is an ostracod taxon with well-developed eye tubercles, which serves as compelling palaeobiological evidence for a very shallow, euphotic setting. By linking the nearshore biofacies (<20 m water depth) to the basement topography undoubtedly shaped by subaerial weathering and/or erosion, it is obvious that northern Shatsky Rise was remarkably emergent during its final emplacement phase. We suggest that early Cretaceous surface environments might have been affected, at least in part, by Shatsky Rise subaerial volcanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-15684-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684222PMC
November 2017

Reefs of tomorrow: eutrophication reduces coral biodiversity in an urbanized seascape.

Glob Chang Biol 2016 11 9;22(11):3550-3565. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Although the impacts of nutrient pollution on coral reefs are well known, surprisingly, no statistical relationships have ever been established between water quality parameters, coral biodiversity and coral cover. Hong Kong provides a unique opportunity to assess this relationship. Here, coastal waters have been monitored monthly since 1986, at 76 stations, providing a highly spatially resolved water quality dataset including 68 903 data points. Moreover, a robust coral species richness (S) dataset is available from more than 100 surveyed locations, composed of 3453 individual colonies' observations, as well as a coral cover (CC) dataset including 85 sites. This wealth of data provides a unique opportunity to test the hypothesis that water quality, and in particular nutrients, drives coral biodiversity. The influence of water quality on S and CC was analyzed using GIS and multiple regression modeling. Eutrophication (as chlorophyll-a concentration; CHLA) was negatively correlated with S and CC, whereas physicochemical parameters (DO and salinity) had no significant effect. The modeling further illustrated that particulate suspended matter, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) had a negative effect on S and on CC; however, the effect of nutrients was 1.5-fold to twofold greater. The highest S and CC occurred where CHLA <2 μg L , DIN < 2 μm and DIP < 0.1 μm. Where these values were exceeded, S and CC were significantly lower and no live corals were observed where CHLA > 15 μg L , DIN > 9 μm and DIP > 0.33 μm. This study demonstrates the importance of nutrients over other water quality parameters in coral biodiversity loss and highlights the key role of eutrophication in shaping coastal coral reef ecosystems. This work also provides ecological thresholds that may be useful for water quality guidelines and nutrient mitigation policies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13432DOI Listing
November 2016

A New Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Species of Ostracoda (Crustacea) from the Western Pacific: Implications for Adaptation, Endemism, and Dispersal of Ostracodes in Chemosynthetic Systems.

Zoolog Sci 2016 Oct;33(5):555-565

2 School of Biological Sciences, Swire Institute of Marine Science,Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong,Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields are among the most extreme habitats on Earth. Major research interests in these ecosystems have focused on the anomalous macrofauna, which are nourished by chemoautotrophic bacterial endosymbionts. In contrast, the meiofauna is largely overlooked in this chemosynthetic environment. The present study describes a new species, Thomontocypris shimanagai sp. nov. (Crustacea: Ostracoda), which was collected from the surface of colonies of neoverrucid barnacles and paralvinellid worms on the chimneys at the Myojin-sho submarine caldera. This is the first discovery of an ostracode from deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments in the western Pacific region. In addition to the species description, we discuss three aspects: 1) adaptation, 2) endemism, and 3) dispersal strategy of the hydrothermal vent ostracodes. Regarding these aspects, we conclude the following: 1) the new species may feed on sloughed-off tissues, mucus secretions, or fecal pellets of sessile organisms, rather than depend on chemoautotrophic bacteria as symbionts for energy; 2) as has been pointed out by other studies, Thomontocypris does not likely represent a vent-specific genus; however, this new species is considered to be endemic at the species level, as it has not been found outside of the type locality; and 3) this new species may have migrated from adjacent deep-sea chemosynthesis-based habitats, such as hydrothermal vents, with wood falls potentially having acted as stepping stones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2108/zs160079DOI Listing
October 2016

Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in long-term time series and palaeoecological records: deep sea as a test bed.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2016 05;371(1694)

Future of Ice Initiative, University of Washington, Johnson Hall, Room 377A, Box 351310 Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA.

The link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) over long temporal scales is poorly understood. Here, we investigate biological monitoring and palaeoecological records on decadal, centennial and millennial time scales from a BEF framework by using deep sea, soft-sediment environments as a test bed. Results generally show positive BEF relationships, in agreement with BEF studies based on present-day spatial analyses and short-term manipulative experiments. However, the deep-sea BEF relationship is much noisier across longer time scales compared with modern observational studies. We also demonstrate with palaeoecological time-series data that a larger species pool does not enhance ecosystem stability through time, whereas higher abundance as an indicator of higher ecosystem functioning may enhance ecosystem stability. These results suggest that BEF relationships are potentially time scale-dependent. Environmental impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning may be much stronger than biodiversity impacts on ecosystem functioning at long, decadal-millennial, time scales. Longer time scale perspectives, including palaeoecological and ecosystem monitoring data, are critical for predicting future BEF relationships on a rapidly changing planet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0282DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843702PMC
May 2016

Combining marine macroecology and palaeoecology in understanding biodiversity: microfossils as a model.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2017 Feb 30;92(1):199-215. Epub 2015 Sep 30.

Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada.

There is growing interest in the integration of macroecology and palaeoecology towards a better understanding of past, present, and anticipated future biodiversity dynamics. However, the empirical basis for this integration has thus far been limited. Here we review prospects for a macroecology-palaeoecology integration in biodiversity analyses with a focus on marine microfossils [i.e. small (or small parts of) organisms with high fossilization potential, such as foraminifera, ostracodes, diatoms, radiolaria, coccolithophores, dinoflagellates, and ichthyoliths]. Marine microfossils represent a useful model system for such integrative research because of their high abundance, large spatiotemporal coverage, and good taxonomic and temporal resolution. The microfossil record allows for quantitative cross-scale research designs, which help in answering fundamental questions about marine biodiversity, including the causes behind similarities in patterns of latitudinal and longitudinal variation across taxa, the degree of constancy of observed gradients over time, and the relative importance of hypothesized drivers that may explain past or present biodiversity patterns. The inclusion of a deep-time perspective based on high-resolution microfossil records may be an important step for the further maturation of macroecology. An improved integration of macroecology and palaeoecology would aid in our understanding of the balance of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that have shaped the biosphere we inhabit today and affect how it may change in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/brv.12223DOI Listing
February 2017

Temperature impacts on deep-sea biodiversity.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2016 May 18;91(2):275-87. Epub 2014 Dec 18.

Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.

Temperature is considered to be a fundamental factor controlling biodiversity in marine ecosystems, but precisely what role temperature plays in modulating diversity is still not clear. The deep ocean, lacking light and in situ photosynthetic primary production, is an ideal model system to test the effects of temperature changes on biodiversity. Here we synthesize current knowledge on temperature-diversity relationships in the deep sea. Our results from both present and past deep-sea assemblages suggest that, when a wide range of deep-sea bottom-water temperatures is considered, a unimodal relationship exists between temperature and diversity (that may be right skewed). It is possible that temperature is important only when at relatively high and low levels but does not play a major role in the intermediate temperature range. Possible mechanisms explaining the temperature-biodiversity relationship include the physiological-tolerance hypothesis, the metabolic hypothesis, island biogeography theory, or some combination of these. The possible unimodal relationship discussed here may allow us to identify tipping points at which on-going global change and deep-water warming may increase or decrease deep-sea biodiversity. Predicted changes in deep-sea temperatures due to human-induced climate change may have more adverse consequences than expected considering the sensitivity of deep-sea ecosystems to temperature changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/brv.12169DOI Listing
May 2016

Biotic and human vulnerability to projected changes in ocean biogeochemistry over the 21st century.

PLoS Biol 2013 Oct 15;11(10):e1001682. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

Department of Geography, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America.

Ongoing greenhouse gas emissions can modify climate processes and induce shifts in ocean temperature, pH, oxygen concentration, and productivity, which in turn could alter biological and social systems. Here, we provide a synoptic global assessment of the simultaneous changes in future ocean biogeochemical variables over marine biota and their broader implications for people. We analyzed modern Earth System Models forced by greenhouse gas concentration pathways until 2100 and showed that the entire world's ocean surface will be simultaneously impacted by varying intensities of ocean warming, acidification, oxygen depletion, or shortfalls in productivity. In contrast, only a small fraction of the world's ocean surface, mostly in polar regions, will experience increased oxygenation and productivity, while almost nowhere will there be ocean cooling or pH elevation. We compiled the global distribution of 32 marine habitats and biodiversity hotspots and found that they would all experience simultaneous exposure to changes in multiple biogeochemical variables. This superposition highlights the high risk for synergistic ecosystem responses, the suite of physiological adaptations needed to cope with future climate change, and the potential for reorganization of global biodiversity patterns. If co-occurring biogeochemical changes influence the delivery of ocean goods and services, then they could also have a considerable effect on human welfare. Approximately 470 to 870 million of the poorest people in the world rely heavily on the ocean for food, jobs, and revenues and live in countries that will be most affected by simultaneous changes in ocean biogeochemistry. These results highlight the high risk of degradation of marine ecosystems and associated human hardship expected in a future following current trends in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001682DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797030PMC
October 2013

Human-induced marine ecological degradation: micropaleontological perspectives.

Ecol Evol 2012 Dec 15;2(12):3242-68. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China ; Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China ; Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China.

We analyzed published downcore microfossil records from 150 studies and reinterpreted them from an ecological degradation perspective to address the following critical but still imperfectly answered questions: (1) How is the timing of human-induced degradation of marine ecosystems different among regions? (2) What are the dominant causes of human-induced marine ecological degradation? (3) How can we better document natural variability and thereby avoid the problem of shifting baselines of comparison as degradation progresses over time? The results indicated that: (1) ecological degradation in marine systems began significantly earlier in Europe and North America (∼1800s) compared with Asia (post-1900) due to earlier industrialization in European and North American countries, (2) ecological degradation accelerated globally in the late 20th century due to post-World War II economic growth, (3) recovery from the degraded state in late 20th century following various restoration efforts and environmental regulations occurred only in limited localities. Although complex in detail, typical signs of ecological degradation were diversity decline, dramatic changes in total abundance, decrease in benthic and/or sensitive species, and increase in planktic, resistant, toxic, and/or introduced species. The predominant cause of degradation detected in these microfossil records was nutrient enrichment and the resulting symptoms of eutrophication, including hypoxia. Other causes also played considerable roles in some areas, including severe metal pollution around mining sites, water acidification by acidic wastewater, and salinity changes from construction of causeways, dikes, and channels, deforestation, and land clearance. Microfossils enable reconstruction of the ecological history of the past 10(2)-10(3) years or even more, and, in conjunction with statistical modeling approaches using independent proxy records of climate and human-induced environmental changes, future research will enable workers to better address Shifting Baseline Syndrome and separate anthropogenic impacts from background natural variability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.425DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3539015PMC
December 2012

Latitudinal species diversity gradient of marine zooplankton for the last three million years.

Ecol Lett 2012 Oct 27;15(10):1174-9. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

High tropical and low polar biodiversity is one of the most fundamental patterns characterising marine ecosystems, and the influence of temperature on such marine latitudinal diversity gradients is increasingly well documented. However, the temporal stability of quantitative relationships among diversity, latitude and temperature is largely unknown. Herein we document marine zooplankton species diversity patterns at four time slices [modern, Last Glacial Maximum (18,000 years ago), last interglacial (120,000 years ago), and Pliocene (~3.3-3.0 million years ago)] and show that, although the diversity-latitude relationship has been dynamic, diversity-temperature relationships are remarkably constant over the past three million years. These results suggest that species diversity is rapidly reorganised as species' ranges respond to temperature change on ecological time scales, and that the ecological impact of future human-induced temperature change may be partly predictable from fossil and paleoclimatological records.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01828.xDOI Listing
October 2012

A fossil record of developmental events: variation and evolution in epidermal cell divisions in ostracodes.

Evol Dev 2010 Nov-Dec;12(6):635-46

Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, USA.

The carapaces of some ostracode taxa bear reticulate skeletal ridges that outline underlying epidermal cells. This anatomy allows one to identify homologous cells across individuals, to infer the modal sequence of cell divisions that occurs over ontogeny, and to identify individuals with variant cell patterns (e.g., additional or missing cell divisions), even in fossils. Here we explore the variational properties and evolutionary history of this developmental system in the deep-sea ostracode genus Poseidonamicus. Using a sample of over 2000 specimens to capture variation in cell division sequence, we show that phenotypic variation in this system is highly structured: some variants, regions of the carapace, and lineages are much more variable than others. Much of the differences in variation among cells can be attributed to the molt stage in which cells take their final form-cell divisions occurring later in ontogeny are more variable than those earlier. Despite ample variation, only two evolutionary changes in the sequence of cell divisions occur over the 40 Myr history of this clade. The evolutionary changes that do occur parallel the two most common intraspecific variants, suggesting that developmental structuring of variation can have long-term evolutionary consequences. Analysis of the most common variant over the last two molt stages suggests that it suffers a fitness disadvantage relative to the modal form. Such normalizing selection may contribute to the evolutionary conservativeness of this developmental system in the Ostracoda.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-142X.2010.00448.xDOI Listing
March 2011

Temporal latitudinal-gradient dynamics and tropical instability of deep-sea species diversity.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009 Dec 14;106(51):21717-20. Epub 2009 Dec 14.

Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.

A benthic microfaunal record from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean over the past four glacial-interglacial cycles was investigated to understand temporal dynamics of deep-sea latitudinal species diversity gradients (LSDGs). The results demonstrate unexpected instability and high amplitude fluctuations of species diversity in the tropical deep ocean that are correlated with orbital-scale oscillations in global climate: Species diversity is low during glacial and high during interglacial periods. This implies that climate severely influences deep-sea diversity, even at tropical latitudes, and that deep-sea LSDGs, while generally present for the last 36 million years, were weakened or absent during glacial periods. Temporally dynamic LSDGs and unstable tropical diversity require reconsideration of current ecological hypotheses about the generation and maintenance of biodiversity as they apply to the deep sea, and underscore the potential vulnerability and conservation importance of tropical deep-sea ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0910935106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2799869PMC
December 2009

Climatic influences on deep-sea ostracode (Crustacea) diversity for the last three million years.

Ecology 2008 Nov;89(11 Suppl):S53-65

U.S. Geological Survey National Center, Mail Stop 926A, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA.

Ostracodes are small, bivalved crustaceans with the finest-scale fossil resolution of any metazoan, rivaled only by the fossil record of the protistan Foraminifera. This article presents a synthesis of the patterns and possible causes of alpha species diversity variation in benthic deep-sea ostracodes at drilling sites in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Taken together, these sites represent a period of great climatic variability covering the past three million years. Sediment cores taken from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge show a positive correlation between warm temperatures and high species diversity. These Mid-Atlantic Ridge cores, at the same latitude as northern Spain, show the same positive correlation during the last two glacial-interglacial cycles (200-0 ka [thousands of years ago]) as they do during the pre-glacial Pliocene 2.85-2.4 Ma (millions of years ago). This positive correlation is also found in Pliocene cores from the Rockall Plateau, at the same latitude as Ireland. During the last 200 thousand years, however, this correlation is reversed in cores taken from both the Rockall and Iceland Plateaus. The discovery of high diversity during colder periods in recent high-latitude Rockall and Iceland cores seems to be explained by spikes in diversity caused by ice-rafting events, which would not affect the lower-latitude Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Heinrich ice-rafting events reduce North Atlantic surface temperatures and salinity every approximately 6-12 ka, dramatically decreasing surface productivity. This increase in diversity during Heinrich events may be explained either by a negative correlation between surface productivity and benthic diversity or by increase in diversity caused by moderate disturbance when ice rafted debris fall to the bottom of the ocean.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/07-1021.1DOI Listing
November 2008

Abrupt climate change and collapse of deep-sea ecosystems.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Feb 28;105(5):1556-60. Epub 2008 Jan 28.

U.S. Geological Survey, 926A National Center, Reston, VA 20192, USA.

We investigated the deep-sea fossil record of benthic ostracodes during periods of rapid climate and oceanographic change over the past 20,000 years in a core from intermediate depth in the northwestern Atlantic. Results show that deep-sea benthic community "collapses" occur with faunal turnover of up to 50% during major climatically driven oceanographic changes. Species diversity as measured by the Shannon-Wiener index falls from 3 to as low as 1.6 during these events. Major disruptions in the benthic communities commenced with Heinrich Event 1, the Inter-Allerød Cold Period (IACP: 13.1 ka), the Younger Dryas (YD: 12.9-11.5 ka), and several Holocene Bond events when changes in deep-water circulation occurred. The largest collapse is associated with the YD/IACP and is characterized by an abrupt two-step decrease in both the upper North Atlantic Deep Water assemblage and species diversity at 13.1 ka and at 12.2 ka. The ostracode fauna at this site did not fully recover until approximately 8 ka, with the establishment of Labrador Sea Water ventilation. Ecologically opportunistic slope species prospered during this community collapse. Other abrupt community collapses during the past 20 ka generally correspond to millennial climate events. These results indicate that deep-sea ecosystems are not immune to the effects of rapid climate changes occurring over centuries or less.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0705486105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234183PMC
February 2008