Starczak Victoria R.

No Thumbnail Available
Last Name
First Name
Victoria R.

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 20 of 20
  • Article
    A crab swarm at an ecological hotspot : patchiness and population density from AUV observations at a coastal, tropical seamount
    (PeerJ, 2016-04-12) Pineda, Jesus ; Cho, Walter W. ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Govindarajan, Annette F. ; Guzman, Hector M. ; Girdhar, Yogesh ; Holleman, Rusty C. ; Churchill, James H. ; Singh, Hanumant ; Ralston, David K.
    A research cruise to Hannibal Bank, a seamount and an ecological hotspot in the coastal eastern tropical Pacific Ocean off Panama, explored the zonation, biodiversity, and the ecological processes that contribute to the seamount’s elevated biomass. Here we describe the spatial structure of a benthic anomuran red crab population, using submarine video and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) photographs. High density aggregations and a swarm of red crabs were associated with a dense turbid layer 4–10 m above the bottom. The high density aggregations were constrained to 355–385 m water depth over the Northwest flank of the seamount, although the crabs also occurred at lower densities in shallower waters (∼280 m) and in another location of the seamount. The crab aggregations occurred in hypoxic water, with oxygen levels of 0.04 ml/l. Barcoding of Hannibal red crabs, and pelagic red crabs sampled in a mass stranding event in 2015 at a beach in San Diego, California, USA, revealed that the Panamanian and the Californian crabs are likely the same species, Pleuroncodes planipes, and these findings represent an extension of the southern endrange of this species. Measurements along a 1.6 km transect revealed three high density aggregations, with the highest density up to 78 crabs/m2, and that the crabs were patchily distributed. Crab density peaked in the middle of the patch, a density structure similar to that of swarming insects.
  • Article
    The role of season and salinity in influencing barnacle distributions in two adjacent coastal mangrove lagoons
    (University of Miami - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 2011-07-01) Starczak, Victoria R. ; Perez-Brunius, Paula ; Levine, Hazel E. ; Gyory, Joanna ; Pineda, Jesus
    Barnacles are often abundant on roots and branches of mangrove trees in tidal channels and coastal lagoons of the Pacific coast of Panama. Yet, in some coastal lagoons, barnacles are absent. We investigated pre- and post-settlement factors that affect barnacle distributions in two adjacent coastal lagoons in Bahía Honda, Panama, one with moderate to large barnacle populations, and the other with nearly non-existent populations. Although mean barnacle recruitment was higher on mangrove root segments during the dry season (December-April) than in the wet season (May-November), it was not significantly different between the two coastal lagoons. The coastal lagoon with fewer barnacles is considered an estuary, with high freshwater flow and low salinities (0.1) during the wet season that were lethal to barnacle nauplii and cyprids. Furthermore, coastal water was not observed to enter the lagoon, even during flood tides. In contrast, more barnacles were found in the lagoon with higher salinities (8.5). During the dry season, freshwater flow was greatly reduced in both lagoons, resulting in a similar salinity range (22-33). We conclude that the lack of barnacles in the estuarine coastal lagoon is largely due to high flushing rates and low salinities that reduce larval concentrations during the wet season. Moreover, low adult abundance in the lagoon's interior may further reduce larval supply and settlement.
  • Preprint
    Impact of intentionally injected carbon dioxide hydrate on deep-sea benthic foraminiferal survival
    ( 2008-10) Bernhard, Joan M. ; Barry, James P. ; Buck, Kurt R. ; Starczak, Victoria R.
    Sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean is being considered as a feasible mechanism to mitigate the alarming rate in its atmospheric rise. Little is known, however, about how the resulting hypercapnia and ocean acidification may affect marine fauna. In an effort to understand better the protistan reaction to such an environmental perturbation, the survivorship of benthic foraminifera, which is a prevalent group of protists, was studied in response to deep-sea CO2 release. The survival response of calcareous, agglutinated, and thecate foraminifera was determined in two experiments at ~3.1 and 3.3 km water depth in Monterey Bay (California, USA). Approximately five weeks after initial seafloor CO2 release, in situ incubations of the live-dead indicator CellTracker Green were executed within seafloor-emplaced pushcores. Experimental treatments included direct exposure to CO2 hydrate, two levels of lesser exposure adjacent to CO2 hydrate, and controls, which were far removed from the CO2 hydrate release. Results indicate that survivorship rates of agglutinated and thecate foraminifera were not significantly impacted by direct exposure but the survivorship of calcareous foraminifera was significantly lower in direct exposure treatments compared to controls. Observations suggest that, if large scale CO2 sequestration is enacted on the deep-sea floor, survival of two major groups of this prevalent protistan taxon will likely not be severely impacted, while calcareous foraminifera will face considerable challenges to maintain their benthic populations in areas directly exposed to CO2 hydrate.
  • Article
    Larval settlement in flocculated particulates
    (Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2008-03) Zimmer, Cheryl Ann ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Arch, Victoria S. ; Zimmer, Richard K.
    Planktonic larval settlement can be a major determinant of population and community dynamics. Settlement templates of benthic invertebrates have been attributed to biological, chemical, and hydrodynamic mechanisms. Completely unexplored, however, is the role of patchy, but widespread, flocculated particulates (“floc”) that intermittently rest on substrate surfaces. Motivated by observations of very high (of order 106 m-3) larval/postlarval densities in floc from a coastal embayment, this study experimentally identified physical and behavioral mechanisms responsible for these associations. In annular-flume studies, sediment cores were mounted flush with the channel bottom, serving as the floc source. Larval (Capitella sp. I, a polychaete worm) distributions in the flume were consistent with predictions for transported particulates. Floc and larvae accumulated at the channel inner corner in high flows (shear velocities, u*, of 0.8 and 1.6 cm s-1), but not in low flows (u* of 0, 0.2 and 0.4 cm s-1). Inner-corner concentrations of larvae/floc resulted from a predictable, cross-channel, bottom flow in that direction. In still-water behavioral assays, there were no significant differences in percent metamorphosis among flocs fabricated from particulate-laden seawater, conspecific fecal pellets (compact floc) and organic-rich sediment. Surficial aggregates clearly were acceptable settlement substratum. This study is the first to show that settling larvae associate with surficial aggregates via both physical and behavioral mechanisms. Floc may be a transient larval venue facilitating habitat search, providing nutrition, or offering protection from predators. Alternatively, it could confer high mortality, reducing larval flux to the bed. Associations between larvae and floc do not supersede established mechanisms of habitat selection. They just thicken the plot.
  • Preprint
    Causes of decoupling between larval supply and settlement and consequences for understanding recruitment and population connectivity
    ( 2010-01-06) Pineda, Jesus ; Porri, Francesca ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Blythe, Jonathan N.
    Marine broadcast spawners have two-phase life cycles, with pelagic larvae and benthic adults. Larval supply and settlement link these two phases and are crucial for the persistence of marine populations. Mainly due to the complexity in sampling larval supply accurately, many researchers use settlement as a proxy for larval supply. Larval supply is a constraining variable for settlement because, without larval supply, there is no settlement. Larval supply and settlement may not be well correlated, however, and settlement may not consistently estimate larval supply. This paper explores the argument that larval supply (i.e., larval abundance near settlement sites) may not relate linearly to settlement. We review the relationship between larval supply and settlement, from estimates and biases in larval supply sampling, to non-behavioral and behavioral components, including small-scale hydrodynamics, competency, gregarious behavior, intensification of settlement, lunar periodicity, predation and cannibalism. Physical and structural processes coupled with behavior, such as small-scale hydrodynamics and intensification of settlement, sometimes result in under- or overestimation of larval supply, where it is predicted from a linear relationship with settlement. Although settlement is a function of larval supply, spatial and temporal processes interact with larval behavior to distort the relationship between larval supply and settlement, and when these distortions act consistently in time and space, they cause biased estimates of larval supply from settlement data. Most of the examples discussed here suggest that behavior is the main source of the decoupling between larval supply and settlement because larval behavior affects the vertical distribution of larvae, the response of larvae to hydrodynamics, intensification of settlement, gregariousness, predation and cannibalism. Thus, larval behavior seems to limit broad generalizations on the regulation of settlement by larval supply. Knowledge of the relationship is further hindered by the lack of a well founded theoretical relationship between the two variables. The larval supply- settlement transition may have strong general consequences for population connectivity, since larval supply is a result of larval transport, and settlement constrains recruitment. Thus, measuring larval supply and settlement effectively allows more accurate quantification and understanding of larval transport, recruitment and population connectivity.
  • Article
    Flocs, flows, and mechanisms decoupling larval supply from settlement
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2012-07) Zimmer, Cheryl Ann ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Zimmer, Richard K.
    Larval supply, settlement (24 h), and recruitment were measured simultaneously with flow and flocculated particulates (flocs) in a muddy, coastal embayment. Fortuitous observations indicated that flocs drifting above the bed touched down at slack tide. Unexpectedly, results showed that larval supply did not portend settlement for the two most abundant polychaetes, Mediomastus ambiseta (resident mud dweller) and Sabellaria vulgaris (nonresident sand dweller). Both variables fluctuated widely and were decoupled. Colonization of mud vs. sand trays was not significantly different, also due to high variances. A statistical power analysis indicated that resolving selectivity would require 45 (median) paired, replicate treatments. Time series of near-bed planktonic larvae showed sizeable and sporadic spikes. Even 24-h means failed to predict settlement. Sabellaria was numerous in zooplankton pump collections, rare in trays, and nonexistent in ambient sediments. In contrast, Mediomastus was absent from pump samples, but dominated mud trays and bottom cores. Floc contents, however, lend insight into these distributions. Densities (of order 105 m-3) of Sabellaria and Mediomastus in flocs greatly exceeded those in tray and pump samples (of order 103 m-3). Located between the water column and seafloor, organic-rich flocs may offer transient larvae food, shelter, transport, and perusal of settlement sites. When aggregates touch down, entrained Mediomastus might exit upon contact with suitable ambient sediments, whereas nonresident Sabellaria remain suspended. Flocs may thus play a critical role in shaping connectivity and structuring species distributions.
  • Preprint
    Otolith geochemistry does not reflect dispersal history of clownfish larvae
    ( 2010-06) Berumen, Michael L. ; Walsh, Harvey J. ; Raventos, N. ; Planes, Serge ; Jones, Geoffrey P. ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Thorrold, Simon R.
    Natural geochemical signatures in calcified structures are commonly employed to retrospectively estimate dispersal pathways of larval fish and invertebrates. However, the accuracy of the approach is generally untested due to the absence of individuals with known dispersal histories. We used genetic parentage analysis (genotyping) to divide 110 new recruits of the orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, from Kimbe Island, Papua New Guinea, into two groups: “self-recruiters” spawned by parents on Kimbe Island and “immigrants” that had dispersed from distant reefs (>10km away). Analysis of daily increments in sagittal otoliths found no significant difference in PLDs or otolith growth rates between self-recruiting and immigrant larvae. We also quantified otolith Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios during the larval phase using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Again, we found no significant differences in larval profiles of either element between self-recruits and immigrants. Our results highlight the need for caution when interpreting otolith dispersal histories based on natural geochemical tags in the absence of water chemistry data or known-origin larvae with which to test the discriminatory ability of natural tags.
  • Article
    Cytochrome P450 diversity and induction by gorgonian allelochemicals in the marine gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum
    (BioMed Central, 2010-12-01) Whalen, Kristen E. ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Nelson, David R. ; Goldstone, Jared V. ; Hahn, Mark E.
    Intense consumer pressure strongly affects the structural organization and function of marine ecosystems, while also having a profound effect on the phenotype of both predator and prey. Allelochemicals produced by prey often render their tissues unpalatable or toxic to a majority of potential consumers, yet some marine consumers have evolved resistance to host chemical defenses. A key challenge facing marine ecologists seeking to explain the vast differences in consumer tolerance of dietary allelochemicals is understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying diet choice. The ability of marine consumers to tolerate toxin-laden prey may involve the cooperative action of biotransformation enzymes, including the inducible cytochrome P450s (CYPs), which have received little attention in marine invertebrates despite the importance of allelochemicals in their evolution. Here, we investigated the diversity, transcriptional response, and enzymatic activity of CYPs possibly involved in allelochemical detoxification in the generalist gastropod Cyphoma gibbosum, which feeds exclusively on chemically defended gorgonians. Twelve new genes in CYP family 4 were identified from the digestive gland of C. gibbosum. Laboratory-based feeding studies demonstrated a 2.7- to 5.1-fold induction of Cyphoma CYP4BK and CYP4BL transcripts following dietary exposure to the gorgonian Plexaura homomalla, which contains high concentrations of anti-predatory prostaglandins. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that C. gibbosum CYP4BK and CYP4BL were most closely related to vertebrate CYP4A and CYP4F, which metabolize pathophysiologically important fatty acids, including prostaglandins. Experiments involving heterologous expression of selected allelochemically-responsive C. gibbosum CYP4s indicated a possible role of one or more CYP4BL forms in eicosanoid metabolism. Sequence analysis further demonstrated that Cyphoma CYP4BK/4BL and vertebrate CYP4A/4F forms share identical amino acid residues at key positions within fatty acid substrate recognition sites. These results demonstrate differential regulation of CYP transcripts in a marine consumer feeding on an allelochemical-rich diet, and significantly advance our understanding of both the adaptive molecular mechanisms that marine consumers use to cope with environmental chemical pressures and the evolutionary history of allelochemical-metabolizing enzymes in the CYP superfamily.
  • Preprint
    Complexity and simplification in understanding recruitment in benthic populations
    ( 2008-06-04) Pineda, Jesus ; Reyns, Nathalie B. ; Starczak, Victoria R.
    Research of complex systems and problems, entities with many dependencies, is often reductionist. The reductionist approach splits systems or problems into different components, and then addresses these components one by one. This approach has been used in the study of recruitment and population dynamics of marine benthic (bottom dwelling) species. Another approach examines benthic population dynamics by looking at a small set of processes. This approach is statistical or model oriented. Simplified approaches identify “macrcoecological” patterns or attempt to identify and model the essential, “first order” elements of the system. The complexity of the recruitment and population dynamics problems stems from the number of processes that can potentially influence benthic populations, including (1) larval pool dynamics, (2) larval transport, (3) settlement, and (4) post-settlement biotic and abiotic processes, as well as larval production. Moreover, these processes are non-linear, some interact, and they may operate at disparate scales. This contribution discusses reductionist and simplified approaches to study benthic recruitment and population dynamics of bottom dwelling marine invertebrates. We first address complexity in two processes known to influence recruitment, larval transport, and post settlement survival to reproduction, and discuss the difficulty in understanding recruitment by looking at relevant processes individually and in isolation. We then address the simplified approach, which reduces the number of processes and makes the problem manageable. We discuss how simplifications and “broad-brush first order approaches” may muddle our understanding of recruitment. Lack of empirical determination of the fundamental processes often results in mistaken inferences, and processes and parameters used in some models can bias our view of processes influencing recruitment. We conclude with a discussion on how to reconcile complex and simplified approaches. Although it appears impossible to achieve a full mechanistic understanding of recruitment by studying all components of the problem in isolation, we suggest that knowledge of these components is essential for simplifying and understanding the system beyond probabilistic description and modeling.
  • Article
    Impacts of multiple stressors on a benthic foraminiferal community: a long-term experiment assessing response to ocean acidification, hypoxia and warming
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-04-22) Bernhard, Joan M. ; Wit, Johannes C. ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Beaudoin, David J. ; Phalen, William G. ; McCorkle, Daniel C.
    Ocean chemistry is changing as a result of human activities. Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are increasing, causing an increase in oceanic pCO2 that drives a decrease in oceanic pH, a process called ocean acidification (OA). Higher CO2 concentrations are also linked to rising global temperatures that can result in more stratified surface waters, reducing the exchange between surface and deep waters; this stronger stratification, along with nutrient pollution, contributes to an expansion of oxygen-depleted zones (so called hypoxia or deoxygenation). Determining the response of marine organisms to environmental changes is important for assessments of future ecosystem functioning. While many studies have assessed the impact of individual or paired stressors, fewer studies have assessed the combined impact of pCO2, O2, and temperature. A long-term experiment (∼10 months) with different treatments of these three stressors was conducted to determine their sole or combined impact on the abundance and survival of a benthic foraminiferal community collected from a continental-shelf site. Foraminifera are well suited to such study because of their small size, relatively rapid growth, varied mineralogies and physiologies. Inoculation materials were collected from a ∼77-m deep site south of Woods Hole, MA. Very fine sediments (<53 μm) were used as inoculum, to allow the entire community to respond. Thirty-eight morphologically identified taxa grew during the experiment. Multivariate statistical analysis indicates that hypoxia was the major driving factor distinguishing the yields, while warming was secondary. Species responses were not consistent, with different species being most abundant in different treatments. Some taxa grew in all of the triple-stressor samples. Results from the experiment suggest that foraminiferal species’ responses will vary considerably, with some being negatively impacted by predicted environmental changes, while other taxa will tolerate, and perhaps even benefit, from deoxygenation, warming and OA.
  • Preprint
    Tolerance of allogromiid Foraminifera to severely elevated carbon dioxide concentrations : implications to future ecosystem functioning and paleoceanographic interpretations
    ( 2007-12-21) Bernhard, Joan M. ; Mollo-Christensen, Elizabeth ; Eisenkolb, Nadine ; Starczak, Victoria R.
    Increases in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in the atmosphere will significantly affect a wide variety of terrestrial fauna and flora. Because of tight atmospheric-oceanic coupling, shallow-water marine species are also expected to be affected by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. One proposed way to slow increases in atmospheric pCO2 is to sequester CO2 in the deep sea. Thus, over the next few centuries marine species will be exposed to changing seawater chemistry caused by ocean-atmospheric exchange and/or deep-ocean sequestration. This initial case study on one allogromiid foraminiferal species (Allogromia laticollaris) was conducted to begin to ascertain the effect of elevated pCO2 on benthic Foraminifera, which are a major meiofaunal constituent of shallow- and deep-water marine communities. Cultures of this thecate foraminiferan protist were used for 10-14-day experiments. Experimental treatments were executed in an incubator that controlled CO2 (15 000; 30 000; 60 000; 90 000; 200 000 ppm), temperature and humidity; atmospheric controls (i.e., ~375 ppm CO2) were executed simultaneously. Although the experimental elevated pCO2 values are far above foreseeable surface water pCO2, they were selected to represent the spectrum of conditions expected for the benthos if deep-sea CO2 sequestration becomes a reality. Survival was assessed in two independent ways: pseudopodial presence/absence and measurement of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is an indicator of cellular energy. Substantial proportions of A. laticollaris populations survived 200 000 ppm CO2 although the mean of the median [ATP] of survivors was statistically lower for this treatment than for that of atmospheric control specimens. After individuals that had been incubated in 200 000 ppm CO2 for 12 days were transferred to atmospheric conditions for ~24 hours, the [ATP] of live specimens (survivors) approximated those of the comparable atmospheric control treatment. Incubation in 200 000 ppm CO2 also resulted in reproduction by some individuals. Results suggest that certain Foraminifera are able to tolerate deep-sea CO2 sequestration and perhaps thrive as a result of elevated pCO2 that is predicted for the next few centuries, in a high-pCO2 world. Thus, allogromiid foraminiferal “blooms” may result from climate change. Furthermore, because allogromiids consume a variety of prey, it is likely that they will be major players in ecosystem dynamics of future coastal sedimentary environments.
  • Article
    Timing of successful settlement : demonstration of a recruitment window in the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides
    (Inter-Research, 2006-08-29) Pineda, Jesus ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Stueckle, Todd A.
    Recruitment is a key factor in benthic population dynamics, and spatial and temporal processes that affect settlement may determine recruitment; however, temporal processes are not well understood. We tested whether the date that recruits settle is a random sample within the settlement season by measuring daily settlement of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides throughout the entire settlement season. A total of 2721 barnacle larvae settled during 89 d on 12 quadrats. Individual settlers were tracked to reproductive age (11 mo after settlement); only 8 survived to reproduction. Survivors settled within a narrow 21 d recruitment window, a period shorter than expected by chance. The concept of a recruitment window has broad implications in studying benthic recruitment and population dynamics. Focus on the recruitment window when it is narrow could simplify the study of recruitment, since fewer factors would have to be considered.
  • Preprint
    Calcification by juvenile corals under heterotrophy and elevated CO2
    ( 2013-12) Drenkard, Elizabeth J. ; Cohen, Anne L. ; McCorkle, Daniel C. ; de Putron, Samantha J. ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Zicht, A. E.
    Ocean acidification (OA) threatens the existence of coral reefs by slowing the rate of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) production of framework-building corals thus reducing the amount of CaCO3 the reef can produce to counteract natural dissolution. Some evidence exists to suggest that elevated levels of dissolved inorganic nutrients can reduce the impact of OA on coral calcification. Here, we investigated the potential for enhanced energetic status of juvenile corals, achieved via heterotrophic feeding, to modulate the negative impact of OA on calcification. Larvae of the common Atlantic golf ball coral, Favia fragum, were collected and reared for 3 weeks under ambient (421 μatm) or significantly elevated (1,311 μatm) CO2 conditions. The metamorphosed, zooxanthellate spat were either fed brine shrimp (i.e., received nutrition from photosynthesis plus heterotrophy) or not fed (i.e., primarily autotrophic). Regardless of CO2 condition, the skeletons of fed corals exhibited accelerated development of septal cycles and were larger than those of unfed corals. At each CO2 level, fed corals accreted more CaCO3 than unfed corals, and fed corals reared under 1,311 μatm CO2 accreted as much CaCO3 as unfed corals reared under ambient CO2. However, feeding did not alter the sensitivity of calcification to increased CO2; Δcalcification/ΔΩ was comparable for fed and unfed corals. Our results suggest that calcification rates of nutritionally replete juvenile corals will decline as OA intensifies over the course of this century. Critically, however, such corals could maintain higher rates of skeletal growth and CaCO3 production under OA than those in nutritionally limited environments.
  • Article
    Two spatial scales in a bleaching event : corals from the mildest and the most extreme thermal environments escape mortality
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2013-09) Pineda, Jesus ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Tarrant, Ann M. ; Blythe, Jonathan N. ; Davis, Kristen A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Berumen, Michael L. ; da Silva, Jose C. B.
    In summer 2010, a bleaching event decimated the abundant reef flat coral Stylophora pistillata in some areas of the central Red Sea, where a series of coral reefs 100–300 m wide by several kilometers long extends from the coastline to about 20 km offshore. Mortality of corals along the exposed and protected sides of inner (inshore) and mid and outer (offshore) reefs and in situ and satellite sea surface temperatures (SSTs) revealed that the variability in the mortality event corresponded to two spatial scales of temperature variability: 300 m across the reef flat and 20 km across a series of reefs. However, the relationship between coral mortality and habitat thermal severity was opposite at the two scales. SSTs in summer 2010 were similar or increased modestly (0.5°C) in the outer and mid reefs relative to 2009. In the inner reef, 2010 temperatures were 1.4°C above the 2009 seasonal maximum for several weeks. We detected little or no coral mortality in mid and outer reefs. In the inner reef, mortality depended on exposure. Within the inner reef, mortality was modest on the protected (shoreward) side, the most severe thermal environment, with highest overall mean and maximum temperatures. In contrast, acute mortality was observed in the exposed (seaward) side, where temperature fluctuations and upper water temperature values were relatively less extreme. Refuges to thermally induced coral bleaching may include sites where extreme, high-frequency thermal variability may select for coral holobionts preadapted to, and physiologically condition corals to withstand, regional increases in water temperature.
  • Preprint
    Barnacle larvae in ice : survival, reproduction, and time to post settlement metamorphosis
    ( 2005) Pineda, Jesus ; DiBacco, Claudio ; Starczak, Victoria R.
    Late stage larvae (cyprids) of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides frequently encounter freezing conditions along the northwest Atlantic coast. S. balanoides cyprids survived for more than 4 weeks embedded in sea ice, and a significant fraction of larvae held in ice up to 2 weeks successfully settled and metamorphosed after thawing. Larvae that completed metamorphosis continued to develop and reproduce. In settlement experiments with cyprids of known age and where settled cyprids were removed every other day from the experimental containers, cyprids held in ice for 2 weeks settled and metamorphosed more than nonfrozen larvae. Mean time to metamorphosis was longer for frozen cyprids than for nonfrozen ones, and maximum time to metamorphosis was 38 d for cyprids held in sea ice for 2 weeks and 26 d for cyprids in nonfrozen treatments. Larval tolerance to freezing conditions greatly expands the environmental tolerance repertoire of marine invertebrates and may help explain the ecological success of this widespread intertidal species.
  • Article
    Benthic protists and fungi of Mediterranean deep hypsersaline anoxic basin redoxcline sediments
    (Frontiers Media, 2014-11-12) Bernhard, Joan M. ; Kormas, Konstantinos Ar. ; Pachiadaki, Maria G. ; Rocke, Emma ; Beaudoin, David J. ; Morrison, Colin R. ; Visscher, Pieter T. ; Cobban, Alec ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Edgcomb, Virginia P.
    Some of the most extreme marine habitats known are the Mediterranean deep hypersaline anoxic basins (DHABs; water depth ∼3500 m). Brines of DHABs are nearly saturated with salt, leading many to suspect they are uninhabitable for eukaryotes. While diverse bacterial and protistan communities are reported from some DHAB water-column haloclines and brines, the existence and activity of benthic DHAB protists have rarely been explored. Here, we report findings regarding protists and fungi recovered from sediments of three DHAB (Discovery, Urania, L’ Atalante) haloclines, and compare these to communities from sediments underlying normoxic waters of typical Mediterranean salinity. Halocline sediments, where the redoxcline impinges the seafloor, were studied from all three DHABs. Microscopic cell counts suggested that halocline sediments supported denser protist populations than those in adjacent control sediments. Pyrosequencing analysis based on ribosomal RNA detected eukaryotic ribotypes in the halocline sediments from each of the three DHABs, most of which were fungi. Sequences affiliated with Ustilaginomycotina Basidiomycota were the most abundant eukaryotic signatures detected. Benthic communities in these DHABs appeared to differ, as expected, due to differing brine chemistries. Microscopy indicated that only a low proportion of protists appeared to bear associated putative symbionts. In a considerable number of cases, when prokaryotes were associated with a protist, DAPI staining did not reveal presence of any nuclei, suggesting that at least some protists were carcasses inhabited by prokaryotic scavengers.
  • Article
    Whales and waves : humpback whale foraging response and the shoaling of internal waves at Stellwagen Bank
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-04-02) Pineda, Jesus ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; da Silva, Jose C. B. ; Helfrich, Karl R. ; Thompson, Michael A. ; Wiley, David N.
    We tested the hypothesis that humpback whales aggregate at the southern flank of Stellwagen Bank (SB) in response to internal waves (IWs) generated semidiurnally at Race Point (RP) channel because of the presence of their preferred prey, planktivorous fish, which in turn respond to zooplankton concentrated by the predictable IWs. Analysis of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images indicates that RP IWs approach the southern flank of SB frequently (∼62% of the images). Published reports of whale sighting data and archived SAR images point to a coarse spatial coincidence between whales and Race Point IWs at SB's southern flank. The responses of whales to IWs were evaluated via sightings and behavior of humpback whales, and IWs were observed in situ by acoustic backscatter and temperature measurements. Modeling of IWs complemented the observations, and results indicate a change of ∼0.4 m/s in current velocity, and ∼1.5 Pa in dynamic pressure near the bottom, which may be sufficient for bottom fish to detect the IWs. However, fish were rare in our acoustic observations, and fish response to the IWs could not be evaluated. RP IWs do not represent the leading edge of the internal tide, and they may have less mass-transport potential than typical coastal IWs. There was large interannual variability in whale sightings at SB's southern flank, with decreases in both numbers of sightings and proportion of sightings where feeding was observed from 2008 to 2013. Coincidence of whales and IWs was inconsistent, and results do not support the hypothesis.
  • Article
    The characteristics and dynamics of wave-driven flow across a platform coral reef in the Red Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-02-16) Lentz, Steven J. ; Churchill, James H. ; Davis, Kristen A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Pineda, Jesus ; Starczak, Victoria R.
    Current dynamics across a platform reef in the Red Sea near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, are examined using 18 months of current profile, pressure, surface wave, and wind observations. The platform reef is 700 m long, 200 m across with spatial and temporal variations in water depth over the reef ranging from 0.6 to 1.6 m. Surface waves breaking at the seaward edge of the reef cause a 2–10 cm setup of sea level that drives cross-reef currents of 5–20 cm s−1. Bottom stress is a significant component of the wave setup balance in the surf zone. Over the reef flat, where waves are not breaking, the cross-reef pressure gradient associated with wave setup is balanced by bottom stress. The quadratic drag coefficient for the depth-average flow decreases with increasing water depth from Cda = 0.17 in 0.4 m of water to Cda = 0.03 in 1.2 m of water. The observed dependence of the drag coefficient on water depth is consistent with open-channel flow theory and a hydrodynamic roughness of zo = 0.06 m. A simple one-dimensional model driven by incident surface waves and wind stress accurately reproduces the observed depth-averaged cross-reef currents and a portion of the weaker along-reef currents over the focus reef and two other Red Sea platform reefs. The model indicates the cross-reef current is wave forced and the along-reef current is partially wind forced.
  • Article
    A note on the friction of different ropes in right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) baleen: an entanglement model
    (International Whaling Commission, 2023-03-15) Cavatorta, Derek ; Starczak, Victoria ; Prada, Kenneth ; Moore, Michael
    Entanglement in fishing gear, particularly fixed trap, constitutes a significant source of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) mortality. Entanglements may initiate with rope fouling baleen plates before snagging other appendages. Low friction between rope and baleen may minimise the risk of a sustained, progressive entanglement. The friction of eight different rope types against right whale baleen was examined by measuring the tension as each rope was pulled through two baleen plates held underwater. Polypropylene rope generated less friction with the baleen than all other fibres tested, including nylon, polyester, and commercial sinking line (a polypropylene/polyester blend). Thus, new commercial floating line (3-strand polypropylene) generates less friction than new commercial sinking line, both of which are commonly used in the fixed gear industry. Therefore, minimising rope friction should be one of the design parameters for whale-safe fixed fishing gear. Further study is required on the impact of rope aging, mouth closing and operator safety before recommendations can be made to industry.
  • Preprint
    Light stimulates swimming behavior of larval eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica in turbulent flow
    ( 2017-05) Wheeler, Jeanette D. ; Luo, Elaine ; Helfrich, Karl R. ; Anderson, Erik J. ; Starczak, Victoria R. ; Mullineaux, Lauren S.
    Planktonic larvae of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica are able to regulate their vertical position in the water, but the environmental cues responsible for this regulation, particularly in turbulent settings, remain unclear. We quantified swimming responses of late-stage oyster larvae in a grid-stirred turbulence tank to determine how light affects the swimming behavior of larvae over a range of hydrodynamic conditions similar to their natural coastal environments. We used particle image velocimetry and larval tracking to isolate larval swimming from local flow and to quantify 3 behavioral metrics: vertical swimming direction, proportion of larvae diving, and proportion of larvae swimming helically. We compared these metrics across turbulence levels ranging from still water (ε = 0 cm2 s-3) to estuarine-like conditions (ε = 0.4 cm2 s-3) in light and dark. At all turbulence levels, light had no effect on the proportion of upward swimming larvae, but elicited detectable increases in the proportion of helical swimming and diving behaviors. We further examined the effect of light and turbulence on specific characteristics of helical trajectories, and found that these environmental cues induce changes to both vertical and horizontal velocities of helically swimming larvae, changing the helix geometry. The increased prevalence of these behaviors in light likely plays an ecological role: increased diving in light (in conjunction with turbulence) is a potential mechanism to enhance settlement success, while changes to helical swimming in light may serve an anti-predatory function. Together, these behaviors provide insight into potentially complex larval responses to multiple simultaneous environmental cues.