Publications by authors named "Simeon L Hill"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Life in the freezer: protein metabolism in Antarctic fish.

R Soc Open Sci 2022 Mar 9;9(3):211272. Epub 2022 Mar 9.

British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OET, UK.

Whole-animal, protein metabolism rates have been reported in temperate and tropical, but not Antarctic fish. Growth in Antarctic species is generally slower than lower latitude species. Protein metabolism data for Antarctic invertebrates show low rates of protein synthesis and unusually high rates of protein degradation. Additionally, in Antarctic fish, increasing evidence suggests a lower frequency of successful folding of nascent proteins and reduced protein stability. This study reports the first whole-animal protein metabolism data for an Antarctic fish. Groups of Antarctic, , and temperate, , fish were acclimatized to a range of overlapping water temperatures and food consumption, whole-animal growth and protein metabolism measured. The rates of protein synthesis and growth in Antarctic, but not temperate fish, were relatively insensitive to temperature and were significantly lower in at 3°C than in . Protein degradation was independent of temperature in and not significantly different to at 3°C, while protein synthesis retention efficiency was significantly higher in than at 3°C. These results suggest Antarctic fish degrade a significantly larger proportion of synthesized protein than temperate fish, with fundamental energetic implications for growth at low temperatures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8905173PMC
March 2022

Stepping stones towards Antarctica: Switch to southern spawning grounds explains an abrupt range shift in krill.

Glob Chang Biol 2022 02 18;28(4):1359-1375. Epub 2021 Dec 18.

Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, UK.

Poleward range shifts are a global-scale response to warming, but these vary greatly among taxa and are hard to predict for individual species, localized regions or over shorter (years to decadal) timescales. Moving poleward might be easier in the Arctic than in the Southern Ocean, where evidence for range shifts is sparse and contradictory. Here, we compiled a database of larval Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba and, together with an adult database, it showed how their range shift is out of step with the pace of warming. During a 70-year period of rapid warming (1920s-1990s), distribution centres of both larvae and adults in the SW Atlantic sector remained fixed, despite warming by 0.5-1.0°C and losing sea ice. This was followed by a hiatus in surface warming and ice loss, yet during this period the distributions of krill life stages shifted greatly, by ~1000 km, to the south-west. Understanding the mechanism of such step changes is essential, since they herald system reorganizations that are hard to predict with current modelling approaches. We propose that the abrupt shift was driven by climatic controls acting on localized recruitment hotspots, superimposed on thermal niche conservatism. During the warming hiatus, the Southern Annular Mode index continued to become increasingly positive and, likely through reduced feeding success for larvae, this led to a precipitous decline in recruitment from the main reproduction hotspot along the southern Scotia Arc. This cut replenishment to the northern portion of the krill stock, as evidenced by declining density and swarm frequency. Concomitantly, a new, southern reproduction area developed after the 1990s, reinforcing the range shift despite the lack of surface warming. New spawning hotspots may provide the stepping stones needed for range shifts into polar regions, so planning of climate-ready marine protected areas should include these key areas of future habitat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16009DOI Listing
February 2022

Commercial fishery disturbance of the global ocean biological carbon sink.

Glob Chang Biol 2022 02 18;28(4):1212-1221. Epub 2021 Dec 18.

British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK.

Plankton drive a major sink of carbon across the global oceans. Dead plankton, their faeces and the faeces of plankton feeders, form a huge rain of carbon sinking to the seabed and deep ocean, reducing atmospheric CO levels and thus helping to regulate the climate. Any change in plankton communities, ecosystems or habitats will perturb this carbon sink, potentially increasing atmospheric CO . Fishing is a major cause of ocean ecosystem disturbance affecting all trophic levels including plankton, but its potential impact on the carbon sink is unknown. As both fisheries and the carbon sink depend on plankton, there is spatial overlap of these fundamental ecosystem services. Here, we provide the first global maps of this spatial overlap. Using an upper quartile analysis, we show that 21% of the total upper ocean carbon sink (export) and 39% of fishing effort globally are concentrated in zones of intensive overlap, representing 9% of the ocean surface area. This overlap is particularly evident in the Northeast Atlantic suggesting this region should be prioritized in terms of research and conservation measures to preserve the high levels of sinking carbon. Small pelagic fish dominate catches here and globally, and their exploitation could reduce important faecal pellet carbon sinks and cause trophic cascades affecting plankton communities. There is an urgent need to recognize that, alongside climate change, fishing might be a critical influence on the ability of the ocean to sequester atmospheric CO . Improved understanding of this influence, and how it will change with the climate, will be important for realizing a sustainable balance of the twin needs for productive fisheries and strong carbon sinks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9300016PMC
February 2022

High mercury levels in Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni from the Southwest Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean.

Environ Res 2020 08 16;187:109680. Epub 2020 May 16.

University of Coimbra, MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Life Sciences, 3000-456, Coimbra, Portugal; British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, CB3 0ET, Cambridge, UK.

Mercury is a bioaccumulating toxic pollutant which can reach humans through the consumption of contaminated food (e.g. marine fish). Although the Southern Ocean is often portrayed as a pristine ecosystem, its fishery products are not immune to mercury contamination. We analysed mercury concentration (organic and inorganic forms - T-Hg) in the muscle of Antarctic toothfish, Dissostichus mawsoni, a long-lived top predator which supports a highly profitable fishery. Our samples were collected in three fishing areas (one seamount and two on the continental slope) in the Southwest Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean during the 2016/2017 fishing season. Mercury levels and the size range of fish varied between fishing areas, with the highest levels (0.68 ± 0.45 mg kg wwt) occurring on the Amundsen Sea seamount where catches were dominated by larger, older fish. The most parsimonious model of mercury concentration included both age and habitat (seamount vs continental slope) as explanatory variables. Mean mercury levels for each fishing area were higher than those in all previous studies of D. mawsoni, with mean values for the Amundsen Sea seamount exceeding the 0.5 mg kg food safety threshold for the first time. It might therefore be appropriate to add D. mawsoni to the list of taxa, such as swordfish and sharks, which are known to exceed this threshold. This apparent increase in mercury levels suggests a recent contamination event which affected the Southwest Pacific sector, including both the Amundsen and Dumont D'Urville seas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.109680DOI Listing
August 2020

Habitat partitioning in Antarctic krill: Spawning hotspots and nursery areas.

PLoS One 2019 24;14(7):e0219325. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

National Oceanography Centre Southampton, European Way, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, have a circumpolar distribution but are concentrated within the south-west Atlantic sector, where they support a unique food web and a commercial fishery. Within this sector, our first goal was to produce quantitative distribution maps of all six ontogenetic life stages of krill (eggs, nauplii plus metanauplii, calyptopes, furcilia, juveniles, and adults), based on a compilation of all available post 1970s data. Using these maps, we then examined firstly whether "hotspots" of egg production and early stage nursery occurred, and secondly whether the available habitat was partitioned between the successive life stages during the austral summer and autumn, when krill densities can be high. To address these questions, we compiled larval krill density records and extracted data spanning 41 years (1976-2016) from the existing KRILLBASE-abundance and KRILLBASE-length-frequency databases. Although adult males and females of spawning age were widely distributed, the distribution of eggs, nauplii and metanauplii indicates that spawning is most intense over the shelf and shelf slope. This contrasts with the distributions of calyptope and furcilia larvae, which were concentrated further offshore, mainly in the Southern Scotia Sea. Juveniles, however, were strongly concentrated over shelves along the Scotia Arc. Simple environmental analyses based on water depth and mean water temperature suggest that krill associate with different habitats over the course of their life cycle. From the early to late part of the austral season, juvenile distribution moves from ocean to shelf, opposite in direction to that for adults. Such habitat partitioning may reduce intraspecific competition for food, which has been suggested to occur when densities are exceptionally high during years of strong recruitment. It also prevents any potential cannibalism by adults on younger stages. Understanding the location of krill spawning and juvenile development in relation to potentially overlapping fishing activities is needed to protect the health of the south-west Atlantic sector ecosystem.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0219325PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6655634PMC
February 2020

Impacts of rising sea temperature on krill increase risks for predators in the Scotia Sea.

PLoS One 2018 31;13(1):e0191011. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Climate change is a threat to marine ecosystems and the services they provide, and reducing fishing pressure is one option for mitigating the overall consequences for marine biota. We used a minimally realistic ecosystem model to examine how projected effects of ocean warming on the growth of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, might affect populations of krill and dependent predators (whales, penguins, seals, and fish) in the Scotia Sea. We also investigated the potential to mitigate depletion risk for predators by curtailing krill fishing at different points in the 21st century. The projected effects of ocean warming on krill biomass were strongest in the northern Scotia Sea, with a ≥40% decline in the mass of individual krill. Projections also suggest a 25% chance that krill biomass will fall below an established depletion threshold (75% of its unimpacted level), with consequent risks for some predator populations, especially penguins. Average penguin abundance declined by up to 30% of its unimpacted level, with up to a 50% chance of falling below the depletion threshold. Simulated krill fishing at currently permitted harvest rates further increased risks for depletion, and stopping fishing offset the increased risks associated with ocean warming in our model to some extent. These results varied by location and species group. Risk reductions at smaller spatial scales also differed from those at the regional level, which suggests that some predator populations may be more vulnerable than others to future changes in krill biomass. However, impacts on predators did not always map directly to those for krill. Our findings indicate the importance of identifying vulnerable marine populations and targeting protection measures at appropriate spatial scales, and the potential for spatially-structured management to avoid aggravating risks associated with rising ocean temperatures. This may help balance tradeoffs among marine ecosystem services in an uncertain future.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0191011PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5791976PMC
February 2018

Sardine cycles, krill declines, and locust plagues: revisiting 'wasp-waist' food webs.

Trends Ecol Evol 2014 Jun 19;29(6):309-16. Epub 2014 Apr 19.

Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Centre, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

'Wasp-waist' systems are dominated by a mid trophic-level species that is thought to exert top-down control on its food and bottom-up control on its predators. Sardines, anchovy, and Antarctic krill are suggested examples, and here we use locusts to explore whether the wasp-waist concept also applies on land. These examples also display the traits of mobile aggregations and dietary diversity, which help to reduce the foraging footprint from their large, localised biomasses. This suggests that top-down control on their food operates at local aggregation scales and not at wider scales suggested by the original definition of wasp-waist. With this modification, the wasp-waist framework can cross-fertilise marine and terrestrial approaches, revealing how seemingly disparate but economically important systems operate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.03.011DOI Listing
June 2014

Ecosystem services of the Southern Ocean: trade-offs in decision-making.

Antarct Sci 2013 Oct 12;25(5):603-617. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

British Antarctic Survey , NERC , High Cross , Madingley Road , Cambridge CB3 0ET , UK.

Ecosystem services are the benefits that mankind obtains from natural ecosystems. Here we identify the key services provided by the Southern Ocean. These include provisioning of fishery products, nutrient cycling, climate regulation and the maintenance of biodiversity, with associated cultural and aesthetic benefits. Potential catch limits for Antarctic krill ( Dana) alone are equivalent to 11% of current global marine fisheries landings. We also examine the extent to which decision-making within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) considers trade-offs between ecosystem services, using the management of the Antarctic krill fishery as a case study. Management of this fishery considers a three-way trade-off between fisheries performance, the status of the krill stock and that of predator populations. However, there is a paucity of information on how well these components represent other ecosystem services that might be degraded as a result of fishing. There is also a lack of information on how beneficiaries value these ecosystem services. A formal ecosystem assessment would help to address these knowledge gaps. It could also help to harmonize decision-making across the ATS and promote global recognition of Southern Ocean ecosystem services by providing a standard inventory of the relevant ecosystem services and their value to beneficiaries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954102013000308DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3808095PMC
October 2013

Potential climate change effects on the habitat of antarctic krill in the weddell quadrant of the southern ocean.

PLoS One 2013 21;8(8):e72246. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Antarctic krill is a cold water species, an increasingly important fishery resource and a major prey item for many fish, birds and mammals in the Southern Ocean. The fishery and the summer foraging sites of many of these predators are concentrated between 0° and 90°W. Parts of this quadrant have experienced recent localised sea surface warming of up to 0.2°C per decade, and projections suggest that further widespread warming of 0.27° to 1.08°C will occur by the late 21(st) century. We assessed the potential influence of this projected warming on Antarctic krill habitat with a statistical model that links growth to temperature and chlorophyll concentration. The results divide the quadrant into two zones: a band around the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in which habitat quality is particularly vulnerable to warming, and a southern area which is relatively insensitive. Our analysis suggests that the direct effects of warming could reduce the area of growth habitat by up to 20%. The reduction in growth habitat within the range of predators, such as Antarctic fur seals, that forage from breeding sites on South Georgia could be up to 55%, and the habitat's ability to support Antarctic krill biomass production within this range could be reduced by up to 68%. Sensitivity analysis suggests that the effects of a 50% change in summer chlorophyll concentration could be more significant than the direct effects of warming. A reduction in primary production could lead to further habitat degradation but, even if chlorophyll increased by 50%, projected warming would still cause some degradation of the habitat accessible to predators. While there is considerable uncertainty in these projections, they suggest that future climate change could have a significant negative effect on Antarctic krill growth habitat and, consequently, on Southern Ocean biodiversity and ecosystem services.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0072246PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749108PMC
June 2014
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