Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.


All of the publications created as part of the VECTORS project are listed below (latest first).
Please use the search box below to find a publication by title, author(s), year or keyword; the most relevant results will be displayed at the top of the page.

  • Börger, T., N.J. Beaumont, L. Pendleton, K.J. Boyle, P. Cooper, S. Fletcher, T. Haab, M. Hanemann, T.L. Hooper, S.S. Hussain, R. Portela, M. Stithou, J. Stockill, T. Taylor and M.C. Austen. (2014). Incorporating ecosystem services in marine planning: The role of valuation. Marine Policy 46, 161-170. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2014.01.019
    View abstract This paper scrutinises the use of ecosystem service valuation for marine planning. Lessons are drawn from the development and use of environmental valuation and cost-benefit analysis for policy-making in the US and the UK. Current approaches to marine planning in both countries are presented and the role that ecosystem service valuation could play in this context is outlined. This includes highlighting the steps in the marine planning process where valuation can inform marine planning and policy-making as well as a discussion of methodological challenges to ecosystem service valuation techniques in the context of marine planning. Recommendations to overcome existing barriers are offered based on the synergies and the thinking in the two countries regarding the application of ecosystem service valuation to marine planning.
  • Börger, T., C. Hattam, D. Burdon, J.P. Atkins and M.C. Austen. (2014). Valuing conservation benefits of an offshore marine protected areas. Ecological Economics 108, 229-241.
    View abstract Increasing anthropogenic pressure in the offshore marine environment highlights the need for improved management and conservation of offshore ecosystems. This study scrutinises the applicability of a discrete choice experiment to value the expected benefits arising from the conservation of an offshore sandbank in UK waters. The valuation scenario refers to the UK part of the Dogger Bank, in the southern North Sea, and is based on real-world management options for fisheries, wind farms and marine protection currently under discussion for the site. It is assessed towhat extent the general public perceive and value conservation benefits arising from an offshore marine protected area. The survey reveals support for marine conservation measures despite the general public's limited prior knowledge of current marine planning. Results further show significant values for an increase in species diversity, the protection of certain charismatic species and a restriction in the spread of invasive species across the site. Implications for policy and management with respect to commercial fishing, wind farm construction and nature conservation are discussed.
  • Canepa, A., V. Fuentes, A. Sabatés, S. Piraino, F. Boero and J.M. Gili. (2014). Jellyfish blooms. In: M. Pitt and C. H. Lucas, editors.: Springer.
    View abstract Over recent decades, man's expanding influence on the oceans has begun to cause change in some regions, including in the Mediterranean Sea. New proliferations of jellyfish may be occurring in the Mediterranean Sea, possibly in response to the cumulative effects of some of these anthropogenic impacts. In the Mediterranean Sea, many of these "proliferation events" are due to Pelagia noctiluca, an oceanic scyphozoan that has become very abundant along the coasts. Pelagia noctiluca is usually considered to be the most important jellyfish species in the Mediterranean Sea due to its widespread distribution, abundance, and ecological role and also because of its negative interaction with humans. Climatic conditions that favor enhanced reproduction by P. noctiluca and probably also determine optimal conditions for the formation of blooms are characterized by mild winters, low rainfall, high temperature, and high-atmospheric pressure. The Medusa Project in Catalonia aims to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of the jellyfish populations in the NW Mediterranean Sea by undertaking daily sampling during summer (May to September) of 243 beaches, covering more than 500 km of coast. Data on beach strandings along the Spanish Catalan coast revealed that jellyfish occur in greatest concentrations along the northern Catalan coast and on beaches located close to marine canyons. The arrival of P. noctiluca to the coast depends firstly on the offshore production of jellyfish. Oceanographic structures like fronts, which enhance and maintain high levels of biological production and provide ideal conditions for feeding, growth, and reproduction of the jellyfish are present in the NW Mediterranean. The weakening of the front results in large numbers of P. noctiluca being driven into the coast by southeast winds. In the NW Mediterranean Sea P. noctiluca exert top-down control over a variety of prey including fi sh eggs and possibly the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. P. noctiluca is also responsible for the majority of the stings incurred by bathers along the Catalan coast. Finally, we recommend that similar sampling programs should be done elsewhere to better understand changes in the distribution, abundance, and blooming patterns of dangerous jellyfi sh species.
  • Huebert, K.B. and M.A. Peck. (2014). A day in the life of fish larvae: modeling foraging and growth using Quirks. Plos One 9(6), e98205. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098205
    View abstract This article introduces "Quirks", a generic, individual-based model synthesizing over 40 years of empirical and theoretical insights into the foraging behavior and growth physiology of marine fish larvae. In Quirks, different types of larvae are defined by a short list of their biological traits, and all foraging and growth processes (including the effects of key environmental factors) are modeled following one unified set of mechanistic rules. This approach facilitates ecologically meaningful comparisons between different species and environments. We applied Quirks to model young exogenously feeding larvae of four species: 5.5-mm European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus), 7-mm Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), 13- mm Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), and 7-mm European sprat (Sprattus sprattus). Modelled growth estimates explained the majority of variability among 53 published empirical growth estimates, and displayed very little bias: 0.65±1.2% d-1 (mean ± standard error). Prey organisms of 67% the maximum ingestible prey length were optimal for all larval types, in terms of the expected ingestion per encounter. Nevertheless, the foraging rate integrated over all favorable prey sizes was highest when smaller organisms made up more than 95% of the prey biomass under the assumption of constant normalized size spectrum slopes. The overall effect of turbulence was consistently negative, because its detrimental influence on prey pursuit success exceeded its beneficial influence on prey encounter rate. Model sensitivity to endogenous traits and exogenous environmental factors was measured and is discussed in depth. Quirks is free software and open source code is provided.
  • Huwer, B., H.-H. Hinrichsen, U. Böttcher, R. Voss and F.W. Köster. (2014). Characteristics of juvenile survivors reveal spatio-temporal differences in early life stage survival of Baltic cod. Marine Ecology Progress Series 511, 165-180. doi:10.3354/meps10875
    View abstract The spatio-temporal origin of surviving juvenile Baltic cod Gadus morhua was investigated by coupling age information from otolith microstructure analysis and hydrodynamic modeling, which allowed backtracking of drift routes in time and space. The suitability of hydrodynamic modeling for drift simulations of early life stages of Baltic cod up to the pelagic juvenile stage was validated by comparing model simulations with the catch distribution from a survey targeting pelagic juveniles, and mortality rates and hatch date distributions of pelagic and demersal juveniles were estimated. Hatch dates and hatch locations of juvenile survivors showed distinct patterns which did not agree well with the abundance and spatial distribution of eggs, suggesting marked spatio-temporal differences in larval survival. The good agreement of the spatio-temporal origin of survivors from this field investigation with previous modeling studies on the survival chances of early-stage larvae and with general spatio-temporal patterns of larval prey availability suggests that differences in survival are related to food availability during the early larval stage. Results are discussed in relation to the recruitment process of Baltic cod, in particular with respect to the critical period and match-mismatch hypotheses, and to possible implications for the placement of a Marine Protected Area which was established to ensure undisturbed spawning of Baltic cod.
  • Donno, A.D., A. Idolo, F. Bagordo, T. Grassi, A. Leomanni, F. Serio, M. Guido, M. Canitano, S. Zampardi, F. Boero and S. Piraino. (2014). Impact of stinging jellyfish proliferations along south Italian coasts: human health hazards, treatment and social costs. Environmental research and public health 11(3), 2488-2503. doi:10.3390/ijerph110x0000x
    View abstract Stinging jellyfish outbreaks represent a health hazard, causing contact dermatitis and systemic reactions. This study investigated the epidemiology, severity, and treatment protocols of jellyfish stings in a coastal area with high tourist development and frequent stinging jellyfish outbreaks of the central Mediterranean (Salento, Southern Italy), and the associated costs for the Italian National Health Service. In 2007-2011, 1,733 bathers (mostly children and females) sought medical assistance following jellyfish stings, the main cause of human pathologies due to contact with marine organisms. The majority of events were reported in the years 2007-2009, whereas the occurrence of cnidarian jellyfish outbreaks has been increasingly reported in the same area since summer 2010. Most symptoms were limited to local and cutaneous reactions; conversely, 8,7% of cases evoked complications, mainly due to allergic reactions. The main drugs used were corticosteroids, locally applied and systemic (46% and 43%, respectively), and with ammonia (74%) as the main non-pharmacological treatment. The estimated cost of jellyfish-related first-aid services along the Salento coastline over the 5-year period was approximately 400,000 Euros. Therefore the management of jellyfish outbreak phenomena need coordinated research efforts towards a better understanding of underlying ecological mechanisms, together with the adoption of effective prevention policy, mitigation strategies, and appropriate planning of health services at tourist hot spots.
  • Duarte, C.M., K.A. Pitt and C.H. Lucas. (2014). Introduction: understanding jellyfish blooms. In: K. A. PItt and C. H. Lucas, editors. Jellyfish blooms. Netherlands: Springer. p. 1-5.
    View abstract Jellyfish blooms are a conspicuous feature of our oceans. Negative interactions between jellyfish and humans are widely publicised, such as jellyfish disrupting power supplies by clogging cooling water intakes of power plants or interfering with commercial fishing operations. Yet jellyfish have delivered many benefits to humans, such as being the original source of a unique molecule, the "green fluorescent protein", that has revolutionised biomedical research. Here we discuss the public and scientific perceptions of jellyfish blooms and emphasise the need for striking a balance in the way jellyfish blooms are portrayed.
  • Eero, M., J. Hemmer-Hansen and K. Hüssy. (2014). Implications of stock recovery for a neighbouring management unit: experience from the Baltic cod. ICES Journal of Marine Science 71(6), 1458-1466. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu060
    View abstract Cod in the Baltic Sea is assessed and managed as two separate stocks, i.e. eastern and western Baltic cod. The eastern Baltic cod has recently started to recover after several decades of severe depletion. In the present study, we suggest that the recovery of the eastern Baltic cod population has also substantially increased cod abundance in a specific area of the adjacent western Baltic management unit. This is investigated through long time-series of spatially resolved stock assessment data supplemented by genetic analyses of origin of the cod currently found in the transition area between the two populations. Due to immigrating cod from the east, there are currently large spatial differences in cod abundance and mean weight in the western Baltic management unit that raise new management concerns. First, the high abundance of cod of eastern origin found in the western Baltic management unit can mask the relatively poor state of the western Baltic cod population. Second, the current fishing mortality estimates for the entire western Baltic management unit, used as basis for fisheries management, are difficult to interpret as these are highly influenced by mixing of biological populations and the spatial distribution of fisheries.
  • Fleming, L.E., N. McDonough, M.C. Austen, L. Mee, M. Moore, P. Hess, M.H. Depledge, M. White, K. Philippart, P. Bradbrook and A. Smalley. (2014). Oceans and human health: a rising tide of challenges and opportunities for Europe. Marine Environmental Research 99(1), 16-19.
    View abstract The European Marine Board recently published a position paper on linking oceans and human health as a strategic research priority for Europe. With this position paper as a reference, the March 2014 Cornwall Oceans and Human Health Workshop brought together key scientists, policy makers, funders, business, and non governmental organisations from Europe and the US to review the recent interdisciplinary and cutting edge research in oceans and human health specifically the growing evidence of the impacts of oceans and seas on human health and wellbeing (and the effects of humans on the oceans). These impacts are a complex mixture of negative influences (e.g. from climate change and extreme weather to harmful algal blooms and chemical pollution) and beneficial factors (e.g. from natural products including seafood to marine renewable energy and wellbeing from interactions with coastal environments). Integrated approaches across disciplines, institutions, and nations in science and policy are needed to protect both the oceans and human health and wellbeing now and in the future.
  • Galil, B.S., A. Marchini, A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi, D. Minchin, A. Narçius, H. Ojaveer and S. Olenin. (2014). International arrivals: widespread bioinvasions in European Seas. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution 26(2-3), 152-171.
    View abstract The European Union lacks a comprehensive framework to address the threats posed by the introduction and spread of marine non-indigenous species (NIS). Current efforts are fragmented and suffer substantial gaps in coverage. In this paper we identify and discuss issues relating to the assessment of spatial and temporal patterns of introductions in European Seas (ES), based on a scientifically validated information system of aquatic non-indigenous and cryptogenic species, AQUANIS. While recognizing the limitations of the existing data, we extract information that can be used to assess the relative risk of introductions for different taxonomic groups, geographic regions and likely vectors. The dataset comprises 879 multicellular NIS. We applied a country-based approach to assess patterns of NIS richness in ES, and identify the principal introduction routes and vectors, the most widespread NIS and their spatial and temporal spread patterns. Between 1970 and 2013, the number of recorded NIS has grown by 86, 173 and 204% in the Baltic, Western European margin and the Mediterranean, respectively; 52 of the 879 NIS were recorded in 10 or more countries, and 25 NIS first recorded in European seas since 1990 have since been reported in five or more countries. Our results highlight the ever-rising role of shipping (commercial and recreational) as a vector for the widespread and recently spread NIS. The Suez Canal, a corridor unique to the Mediterranean, is responsible for the increased introduction of new thermophilic NIS into this warming sea. The 2020 goal of the EU Biodiversity Strategy concerning marine Invasive Alien Species may not be fully attainable. The setting of a new target date should be accompanied by scientifically robust, sensible and pragmatic plans to minimize introductions of marine NIS and to study those present.
  • Gambill, M. and M.A. Peck. (2014). Respiration rates of the polyps of four jellyfish species: Potential thermal triggers and limits. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 459, 17-22.
    View abstract The bloom dynamics of metagenic jellyfish are regulated, to a large degree, by the asexual reproduction of benthic polyps. The ecophysiology of polyps is poorly studied compared to pelagic (ephyrae and medusae) life stages.We measured unfed (routine) respiration rates (RR) of the polyps of four scyphozoan species (Cyanea capillata, Aurelia aurita, Aurelia labiata and Aurelia limbata) acclimated to six temperatures between 7 and 20°C and one species (A. aurita) under hypoxic conditions. Strong increases (Q10 ~ 7 to 13) in RR occurred after subtle warming across specific test temperatures (e.g., 12 to 15°C for C. capillata, A. labiata, and A. aurita). In some species, RR at 20°C was lower than at 15 or 18°C suggesting that sub-optimally warm temperatures were approached. Polyps of A. aurita were unable to maintain RR below 11, 22 and 24% O2 saturation at 8.0, 15.5 and 19.0°C, respectively. Despite obvious differences in activity and habitat, rates of respiration in polyps, ephyrae andmedusae of A. aurita at 15°C appear similar after taking into account differences in body size. A literature comparison of polyp respiration rates suggests a narrowing of thermal windows in individuals collected from higher latitudes. Common garden experiments are needed to thoroughly examine potential local adaptation.
  • Galil, B.S., F. Boero, M.L. Campbell, J.T. Carlton, E.J. Cook, S. Fraschetti, S. Gollasch, C.L. Hewitt, A. Jelmert, E. Macpherson, A. Marchini, C. McKenzie, D. Minchin, A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi, H. Ojaveer, S. Olenin, S. Piraino and G.M. Ruiz. (2014). ‘Double trouble’: the expansion of the Suez Canal and marine bioinvasions in the Mediterranean Sea. Biological Invasions, 1-4. doi:10.1007/s10530-014-0778-y
    View abstract “Egypt to build new Suez canal… ‘This giant project will be the creation of a new Suez canal parallel to the current channel’ said Mohab Mamish, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, in a televised speech.” This is ominous news. Expected to double the capacity of the Suez Canal, the expansion is sure to have a diverse range of effects, at local and regional scales, on both the biological diversity and the ecosystem goods and services of the Mediterranean Sea. Of nearly 700 multicellular non-indigenous species (NIS) currently recognized from the Mediterranean Sea, fully half were introduced through the Suez Canal since 1869. This is one of the most potent mechanisms and corridors for invasions by marine species known in the world. Further, molecular methods demonstrate high levels of gene flow between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean populations. Most of the NIS introduced via the Suez Canal have established thriving populations along the Levant, from Libya to Greece, and several spread in the Western Mediterranean. The individual and cumulative impacts of these NIS adversely affect the conservation status of particular species and critical habitats, as well as the structure and function of ecosystems and the availability of natural resources. Some species are noxious, poisonous, or venomous and pose clear threats to human health.
  • Kotta, J., T. Möller, H. Orav-Kotta and M. Pärnoja. (2014). Realized niche width of a brackish water submerged aquatic vegetation under current environmental conditions and projected influences of climate change. Marine Environmental Research 102, 88-101. doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2014.05.002
    View abstract Little is known about how organisms might respond to multiple climate stressors and this lack of knowledge limits our ability to manage coastal ecosystems under contemporary climate change. Ecological models provide managers and decision makers with greater certainty that the systems affected by their decisions are accurately represented. In this study Boosted Regression Trees modelling was used to relate the cover of submerged aquatic vegetation to the abiotic environment in the brackish Baltic Sea. The analyses showed that the majority of the studied submerged aquatic species are most sensitive to changes in water temperature, current velocity and winter ice scour. Surprisingly, water salinity, turbidity and eutrophication have little impact on the distributional pattern of the studied biota. Both small and large scale environmental variability contributes to the variability of submerged aquatic vegetation. When modelling species distribution under the projected influences of climate change, all of the studied submerged aquatic species appear to be very resilient to a broad range of environmental perturbation and biomass gains are expected when seawater temperature increases. This is mainly because vegetation develops faster in spring and has a longer growing season under the projected climate change scenario.
  • Piraino, S., G. Aglieri and L. Martell. (2014). Pelagia benovici sp. nov. (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa): a new jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea. Zootaxa 7(3794), 455 - 468. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3794.3.7
    View abstract A bloom of an unknown semaestome jellyfish species was recorded in the North Adriatic Sea from September 2013 to early 2014. Morphological analysis of several specimens showed distinct differences from other known semaestome species in the Mediterranean Sea and unquestionably identified them as belonging to a new pelagiid species within genus Pelagia. The new species is morphologically distinct from P. noctiluca, currently the only recognized valid species in the genus, and from other doubtful Pelagia species recorded from other areas of the world. Molecular analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and nuclear 28S ribosomal DNA genes corroborate its specific distinction from P. noctiluca and other pelagiid taxa, supporting the monophyly of Pelagiidae. Thus, we describe Pelagia benovici sp. nov. Piraino, Aglieri, Scorrano & Boero.
  • Aglieri, G., C. Papetti, L. Zane, G. Milisenda, F. Boero and S. Piraino. (2014). First evidence of inbreeding, relatedness and chaotic genetic patchiness in the holoplanktonic jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca (Scyphozoa, Cnidaria). PLOS ONE 9(6), e99647. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099647
    View abstract Genetic drift and non-random mating seldom influence species with large breeding populations and high dispersal potential, characterized by unstructured gene pool and panmixia at a scale lower than the minimum dispersal range of individuals. In the present study, a set of nine microsatellite markers was developed and used to investigate the spatio-temporal genetic patterns of the holoplanktonic jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca (Scyphozoa) in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea. Homozygote excess was detected at eight loci, and individuals exhibited intra-population relatedness higher than expected by chance in at least three samples. This result was supported by the presence of siblings in at least 5 out 8 samples, 4 of which contained full-sib in addition to half-sib dyads. Having tested and ruled out alternative explanations as null alleles, our results suggest the influence of reproductive and behavioural features in shaping the genetic structure of P. noctiluca, as outcomes of population genetics analyses pointed out. Indeed, the genetic differentiation among populations was globally small but highlighted: a) a spatial genetic patchiness uncorrelated with distance between sampling locations, and b) a significant genetic heterogeneity between samples collected in the same locations in different years. Therefore, despite its extreme dispersal potential, P. noctiluca does not maintain a single homogenous population, but rather these jellyfish appear to have intra-bloom localized recruitment and/or individual cohesiveness, whereby siblings more likely swarm together as a single group and remain close after spawning events. These findings provide the first evidence of family structures and consequent genetic patchiness in a species with highly dispersive potential throughout its whole life cycle, contributing to understanding the patterns of dispersal and connectivity in marine environments.
  • Gloaguen, P., S. Mahévas, E. Rivot, M. Woillez, J. Guitton, Y. Vermard and M.P. Etienne. (2014). An autoregressive model to describe fishing vessel movement and activity. Environmetrics 26, 17-28. doi:10.1002/env.2319;jsessionid=E57C119AF4567CD584489E7E5F916FFC.f02t01
    View abstract The understanding of the dynamics of fishing vessels is of great interest to characterize the spatial distribution of the fishing effort and to define sustainable fishing strategies. It is also a prerequisite for anticipating changes in fishermen's activity in reaction to management rules, economic context, or evolution of exploited resources. Analyzing the trajectories of individual vessels offers promising perspectives to describe the activity during fishing trips. A hidden Markov model with two behavioral states (steaming and fishing) is developed to infer the sequence of non-observed fishing vessel behavior along the vessel trajectory based on Global Positioning System (GPS) records. Conditionally to the behavior, vessel velocity is modeled with an autoregressive process. The model parameters and the sequence of hidden behavioral states are estimated using an expectation–maximization algorithm, coupled with the Viterbi algorithm that captures the most credible joint sequence of hidden states. A simulation approach was performed to assess the influence of contrast between the model parameters and of the path length on the estimation performances. The model was then fitted to four original GPS tracks recorded with a time step of 15 min derived from volunteer fishing vessels operating in the Channel within the IFREMER RECOPESCA project. Results showed that the fishing activity performed influenced the estimates of the velocity process parameters. Results also suggested future inclusion of variables such as tide currents within the ecosystem approach of fisheries. 
  • Nicolas, D., S. Rochette, M. Llope and P. Licandro. (2014). Spatio-temporal variability of the North Sea cod recruitment in relation to temperature and zooplankton. PLOS ONE 9(2), e88447. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088447
    View abstract The North Sea cod (Gadus morhua, L.) stock has continuously declined over the past four decades linked with overfishing and climate change. Changes in stock structure due to overfishing have made the stock largely dependent on its recruitment success, which greatly relies on environmental conditions. Here we focus on the spatio-temporal variability of cod recruitment in an effort to detect changes during the critical early life stages. Using International Bottom Trawl Survey (IBTS) data from 1974 to 2011, a major spatio-temporal change in the distribution of cod recruits was identified in the late 1990s, characterized by a pronounced decrease in the central and southeastern North Sea stock. Other minor spatial changes were also recorded in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. We tested whether the observed changes in recruits distribution could be related with direct (i.e. temperature) and/or indirect (i.e. changes in the quantity and quality of zooplankton prey) effects of climate variability. The analyses were based on spatially-resolved time series, i.e. sea surface temperature (SST) from the Hadley Center and zooplankton records from the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey. We showed that spring SST increase was the main driver for the most recent decrease in cod recruitment. The late 1990s were also characterized by relatively low total zooplankton biomass, particularly of energy-rich zooplankton such as the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, which have further contributed to the decline of North Sea cod recruitment. Long-term spatially-resolved observations were used to produce regional distribution models that could further be used to predict the abundance of North Sea cod recruits based on temperature and zooplankton food availability.
  • Maar, M., A. Rindorf, E.F. Møller, A. Christensen, K.S. Madsen and M. van Deurs. (2014). Zooplankton mortality in 3D ecosystem modelling considering variable spatial–temporal fish consumptions in the North Sea. Progress in Oceanography 124, 78-91. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.03.002
    View abstract We tested the feasibility of imposing mesozooplankton mortality into a 3D model based on estimated consumption rates of the dominant planktivorous fish in the North Sea–Kattegat area. The spatial biomass distribution of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus), Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus), sandeel (Ammodytidae) and European sprat (Sprattus sprattus) was derived from quarterly scientific trawl surveys and Danish commercial catches. Spatio-temporal indices of mortality were created based on the estimated biomasses and ingestion rates from the literature. The fish larvae grazing pressure was obtained from a spatial, size-based larval community model. In this model, larvae, herring and sandeel were the most important fish predators on mesozooplankton, but these groups had different spatial and temporal (seasonal) distributions. Fish larvae were particularly dominant in the eastern and southern areas in early summer. Herring and sandeel had the highest consumption in the central and north-western areas and were more important in late summer. The fish index changed the perceived annual, seasonal and spatial patterns in modelled mesozooplankton biomass, production and mortality. In the present study, the index was kept relatively simple and can be further developed with respect to the description of fish as well carnivorous zooplankton ingestion rates. The data input required to create the fish index is (i) planktivorous fish stock biomasses and (ii) relative fish spawning distribution information and (iii) physics (ocean currents and temperatures) for the region and situation of interest. The fish index seems promising as a realistic mortality term for lower trophic levels in 3D ecosystem models in areas with available data on fish stocks to improve management of marine resources.
  • Galil, B.S. (2014). Comments on ‘Preliminary data on the genetic structure of a highly successful invading population of oyster suggesting its establishment dynamics in the Levant’ by Ateret Shabtay et al., Marine Biology Research, 2014. Marine Biology Research 11(1), 106-108. doi:10.1080/17451000.2014.949776
    View abstract In a recent article, Shabtay et al. use molecular tools to characterize the genetic structure of the population of the Indo-Pacific spiny oyster Spondylus spinosus at five sites along the Mediterranean coast of Israel and at the northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. The authors state that the results of their analysis provide evidence that coal carriers offloading at a pier next to the Hadera power plant were the probable vectors of introduced S. spinosus into the Mediterranean. To refute the authors' statement factual evidence is offered as to the sources and pathways of the coal imported to Israel and the ballasting/deballasting procedures of the coal carriers in question. In addition, omissions as to the spatio-temporal distributional data concerning the introduction of S. spinosus into the Mediterranean are rectified. The veracity and accuracy of the geographic origin and the pathways of introduction are of major importance for management of bioinvasions. With much at stake for regulators, scientists, the concerned public and the marine environment, it is important that erroneous data are corrected.
  • Gul, S., M. Moazzam and B.S. Galil. (2014). Occurrence of Marivagia stellata (Scyphozoa: Rhizostomeae: Cepheidae) along the coast of Pakistan, northern Arabian Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records 7, e112. doi:10.1017/S1755267214001092
    View abstract Marivagia stellata, a cepheid jellyfish was previously recorded off Kerala, India in the south-east of the Arabian Sea. Now, the species has been found off the mouth of the River Indus, Pakistan for the first time. This new record greatly extends the range of its distribution to the north-east of the Arabian Sea along the coast of Pakistan.
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