J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2016, 4(2), 41; doi:10.3390/jmse4020041 - published 3 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Evaluating the degree of metal exposure and bioaccumulation in estuarine organisms is important for understanding the fate of metals in estuarine food webs. We investigated the bioaccumulation of Hg, methylmercury (MeHg), Cd, Se, Pb, and As in common intertidal organisms across a watershed urbanization gradient of coastal marsh sites in New England to relate metal exposure and bioaccumulation in fauna to both chemical and ecological factors. In sediments, we measured metal and metalloid concentrations, total organic carbon (TOC) and SEM-AVS (Simultaneously extracted metal-acid volatile sulfides). In five different functional feeding groups of biota, we measured metal concentrations and delta 15N and delta 13C signatures. Concentrations of Hg and Se in biota for all sites were always greater than sediment concentrations whereas Pb in biota was always lower. There were positive relationships between biota Hg concentrations and sediment concentrations, and between biota MeHg concentrations and both pelagic feeding mode and trophic level. Bioavailability of all metals measured as SEM-AVS or Benthic-Sediment Accumulation Factor was lower in more contaminated sites, likely due to biogeochemical factors related to higher levels of sulfides and organic carbon in the sediments. Our study demonstrates that for most metals and metalloids, bioaccumulation is metal specific and not directly related to sediment concentrations or measures of bioavailability such as AVS-SEM.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2016, 4(2), 40; doi:10.3390/jmse4020040 - published 3 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Sandy beaches play a key role in regional tourism. It is important to understand the principal morphological processes behind preserving attractive beaches. In this study, morphological variation on the Chirihama Coast, Japan, an important local tourism resource, was investigated using two sets of field surveys. The objective was to analyze and document the multi-scale behaviors of the beach. First, long-term shoreline changes were examined based on shoreline surveys over the last two decades. Then, the middle-term behavior of multiple bar systems was analyzed based on the cross-shore profile surveys from 1998 to 2010. An empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis was conducted to capture the principal modes of the systematic bar migration. The shoreline analysis indicated a long-term eroding trend and showed that the seasonal variation has recently tended to increase. The profile analysis demonstrated that net offshore migrations of bars have been repeated with a return period of approximately four years. This general behavior of the bar system is similar to the net offshore migration phenomena observed at other sites in the world. EOF analysis revealed a relationship between bar configuration and middle-term variations in shoreline location; when a new bar is generated near the shoreline and a triple bar configuration is established, the shoreline tends to temporarily retreat, whereas the shoreline experiences an advance when the outer bar has most evolved.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2016, 4(2), 39; doi:10.3390/jmse4020039 - published 1 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Using a panel of genes stimulated by oil exposure in a laboratory study, we evaluated gene transcription in blood leukocytes sampled from sea otters captured from 2006–2012 in western Prince William Sound (WPWS), Alaska, 17–23 years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS). We compared WPWS sea otters to reference populations (not affected by the EVOS) from the Alaska Peninsula (2009), Katmai National Park and Preserve (2009), Clam Lagoon at Adak Island (2012), Kodiak Island (2005) and captive sea otters in aquaria. Statistically, sea otter gene transcript profiles separated into three distinct clusters: Cluster 1, Kodiak and WPWS 2006–2008 (higher relative transcription); Cluster 2, Clam Lagoon and WPWS 2010–2012 (lower relative transcription); and Cluster 3, Alaska Peninsula, Katmai and captive sea otters (intermediate relative transcription). The lower transcription of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), an established biomarker for hydrocarbon exposure, in WPWS 2010–2012 compared to earlier samples from WPWS is consistent with declining hydrocarbon exposure, but the pattern of overall low levels of transcription seen in WPWS 2010–2012 could be related to other factors, such as food limitation, pathogens or injury, and may indicate an inability to mount effective responses to stressors. Decreased transcriptional response across the entire gene panel precludes the evaluation of whether or not individual sea otters show signs of exposure to lingering oil. However, related studies on sea otter demographics indicate that by 2012, the sea otter population in WPWS had recovered, which indicates diminishing oil exposure.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2016, 4(2), 37; doi:10.3390/jmse4020037 - published 26 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Remodeling of rocky coasts and erosion rates have been widely studied in past years, but not all the involved processes acting over rocks surface have been quantitatively evaluated yet. The first goal of this paper is to revise the different methodologies employed in the quantification of the effect of biotic agents on rocks exposed to coastal morphologic agents, comparing their efficiency. Secondly, we focus on geological methods to assess and quantify bio-remodeling, presenting some case studies in an area of the Mediterranean Sea in which different geological methods, inspired from the revised literature, have been tested in order to provide a quantitative assessment of the effects some biological covers exert over rocky platforms in tidal and supra-tidal environments. In particular, different experimental designs based on Schmidt hammer test results have been applied in order to estimate rock hardness related to different orders of littoral platforms and the bio-erosive/bio-protective role of Chthamalus ssp. and Verrucariaadriatica. All data collected have been analyzed using statistical tests to evaluate the significance of the measures and methodologies. The effectiveness of this approach is analyzed, and its limits are highlighted. In order to overcome the latter, a strategy combining geological and experimental–computational approaches is proposed, potentially capable of revealing novel clues on bio-erosion dynamics. An experimental-computational proposal, to assess the indirect effects of the biofilm coverage of rocky shores, is presented in this paper, focusing on the shear forces exerted during hydration-dehydration cycles. The results of computational modeling can be compared to experimental evidence, from nanoscopic to macroscopic scales.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2016, 4(2), 38; doi:10.3390/jmse4020038 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Grain size on the surface of natural beaches has been observed to vary spatially and temporally with morphology and wave energy. The stratigraphy of the beach at Duck, North Carolina, USA was examined using 36 vibracores (~1–1.5 m long) collected along a cross-shore beach profile. Cores show that beach sediments are finer (~0.3 mm) and more uniform high up on the beach. Lower on the beach, with more swash and wave action, the sand is reworked, segregated by size, and deposited in layers and patches. At the deepest measurement sites in the swash (~−1.4 to −1.6 m NAVD88), which are constantly being reworked by the energetic shore break, there is a thick layer (60–80 cm) of very coarse sediment (~2 mm). Examination of two large trenches showed that continuous layers of coarse and fine sands comprise beach stratigraphy. Thicker coarse layers in the trenches (above mean sea level) are likely owing to storm erosion and storm surge elevating the shore break and swash, which act to sort the sediment. Those layers are buried as water level retreats, accretion occurs and the beach recovers from the storm. Thinner coarse layers likely represent similar processes acting on smaller temporal scales.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2016, 4(2), 36; doi:10.3390/jmse4020036 - published 20 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many countries are very active in marine research and operate their own research fleets. In this decade, a number of research vessels have been renewed and equipped with the most modern navigation systems and tools. However, much of the research gear used for biological sampling, especially in the deep-sea, is outdated and dependent on wired operations. The deployment of gear can be very time consuming and, thus, expensive. The present paper reviews wire-dependent, as well as autonomous research gear for biological sampling at the deep seafloor. We describe the requirements that new gear could fulfil, including the improvement of spatial and temporal sampling resolution, increased autonomy, more efficient sample conservation methodologies for morphological and molecular studies and the potential for extensive in situ real-time studies. We present applicable technologies from robotics research, which could be used to develop novel autonomous marine research gear, which may be deployed independently and/or simultaneously with traditional wired equipment. A variety of technological advancements make such ventures feasible and timely. In proportion to the running costs of modern research vessels, the development of such autonomous devices might be already paid off after a discrete number of pioneer expeditions.