J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(1), 146-153; doi:10.3390/jmse3010146 - published 20 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Disease in fish and shellfish is one of the main problems facing aquaculture production. Therefore, all attempts should be made to increase the rate of survival and, thus, reduce economic losses. Much has been done to develop vaccines and medical treatments to reduce mortality; and however, farming of aquatic species has a long way to go to optimize the environmental conditions for the animals and, thus, reduce stress and improve animal welfare. However, the good news is that there is the potential to increase disease resistance by selective breeding. By challenge-testing fingerlings from a number of families per generation, and including the rate of survival in the breeding goal, the results so far are very promising. By focusing on one disease at a time it is possible to increase the rate of survival by at least 12.5% per generation for most diseases studied. Unfortunately, selective breeding is only used to a small degree in aquatic species. In 2010, it was estimated that only 8.2% of aquaculture production was based on genetically improved stocks.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(1), 128-145; doi:10.3390/jmse3010128 - published 19 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Engineers require estimates of tolerable overtopping limits for grass-covered levees, dikes, and embankments that might experience steady overflow. Realistic tolerance estimates can be used for both resilient design and risk assessment. A simple framework is developed for estimating tolerable overtopping on grass-covered slopes caused by slowly-varying (in time) overtopping discharge (e.g., events like storm surges or river flood waves). The framework adapts the well-known Hewlett curves of tolerable limiting velocity as a function of overflow duration. It has been hypothesized that the form of the Hewlett curves suggests that the grass erosion process is governed by the flow work on the slope above a critical threshold velocity (referred to as excess work), and the tolerable erosional limit is reached when the cumulative excess work exceeds a given value determined from the time-dependent Hewlett curves. The cumulative excess work is expressed in terms of overflow discharge above a critical discharge that slowly varies in time, similar to a discharge hydrograph. The methodology is easily applied using forecast storm surge hydrographs at specific locations where wave action is minimal. For preliminary planning purposes, when storm surge hydrographs are unavailable, hypothetical equations for the water level and overflow discharge hydrographs are proposed in terms of the values at maximum overflow and the total duration of overflow. An example application is given to illustrate use of the methodology.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(1), 111-127; doi:10.3390/jmse3010111 - published 4 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The continuous degradation of coral reef ecosystems on a global level, the disheartening expectations of a gloomy future for reefs’ statuses, the failure of traditional conservation acts to revive most of the degrading reefs and the understanding that it is unlikely that future reefs will return to historic conditions, all call for novel management approaches. Among the most effective approaches is the “gardening” concept of active reef restoration, centered, as in silviculture, on a two-step restoration process (nursery and transplantation). In the almost two decades that passed from its first presentation, the “gardening” tenet was tested in a number of coral reefs worldwide, revealing that it may reshape coral reef communities (and associated biota) in such a way that novel reef ecosystems with novel functionalities that did not exist before are developed. Using the “gardening” approach as a climate change mediator, four novel ecosystem engineering management approaches are raised and discussed in this article. These include the take-home lessons approach, which considers the critical evaluation of reef restoration outcomes; the genetics approach; the use of coral nurseries as repositories for coral and reef species; and an approach that uses novel environmental engineering tactics. Two of these approaches (take-home lessons and using coral nurseries as repositories for reef dwelling organisms) already consider the uncertainty and the gaps in our knowledge, and they are further supported by the genetic approach and by the use of novel environmental engineering tactics as augmenting auxiliaries. Employing these approaches (combined with other novel tactics) will enhance the ability of coral reef organisms to adaptably respond to climate change.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(1), 100-110; doi:10.3390/jmse3010100 - published 4 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Slides generating impulse waves are currently generated using either block models or free granular material impacting a water body. These procedures were mainly developed to study plane impulse waves, i.e., wave generation in a rectangular channel. The current VAW, ETH Zurich, research is directed to the spatial impulse wave features, i.e., waves propagating in a wave basin. The two wave generation mechanisms mentioned above complicate this process for various reasons, including experimental handling, collection of slide material in the wave basin, poor representation of prototype conditions for the block model, and excessive temporal duration for free granular slides. Impulse waves originating from slides with free granular material and mesh-packed slides are compared in this paper. Detailed test series are presented, so that the resulting main wave features can be compared. The results highlight whether the simplified procedure involving mesh-packed slides really applies in future research, and specify advantages in terms of impulse wave experimentation.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(1), 87-99; doi:10.3390/jmse3010087 - published 2 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Generalised reviews of RNA interference (RNAi) in invertebrates, and for use in aquaculture, have taken for granted that RNAi pathways operate in molluscs, but inspection of such reviews show little specific evidence of such activity in molluscs. This review was to understand what specific research had been conducted on RNAi in molluscs, particularly with regard to aquaculture. There were questions of whether RNAi in molluscs functions similarly to the paradigm established for most eukaryotes or, alternatively, was it more similar to the ecdozoa and how RNAi may relate to disease control in aquaculture? RNAi in molluscs appears to have been only investigated in about 14 species, mostly as a gene silencing phenomenon. We can infer that microRNAs including let-7 are functional in molluscs. The genes/proteins involved in the actual RNAi pathways have only been rudimentarily investigated, so how homologous the genes and proteins are to other metazoa is unknown. Furthermore, how many different genes for each activity in the RNAi pathway are also unknown? The cephalopods have been greatly overlooked with only a single RNAi gene-silencing study found. The long dsRNA-linked interferon pathways seem to be present in molluscs, unlike some other invertebrates and could be used to reduce disease states in aquaculture. In particular, interferon regulatory factor genes have been found in molluscs of aquacultural importance such as Crassostrea, Mytilus, Pinctada and Haliotis. Two possible aquaculture scenarios are discussed, zoonotic norovirus and ostreid herpesvirus 1 to illustrate the possibilities. The entire field of RNAi in molluscs looks ripe for scientific exploitation and practical application.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(1), 73-86; doi:10.3390/jmse3010073 - published 12 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The present study extends the applicability of a statistical model for prediction of storm surge originally developed for The Battery, NY in two ways: I. the statistical model is used as a biascorrection for operationally produced dynamical surge forecasts, and II. the statistical model is applied to the region of the east coast of the U.S. susceptible to winter extratropical storms. The statistical prediction is based on a regression relation between the “storm maximum” storm surge and the storm composite significant wave height predicted ata nearby location. The use of the statistical surge prediction as an alternative bias correction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operational storm surge forecasts is shownhere to be statistically equivalent to the existing bias correctiontechnique and potentially applicable for much longer forecast lead times as well as for storm surge climate prediction. Applying the statistical model to locations along the east coast shows that the regression relation can be “trained” with data from tide gauge measurements and near-shore buoys along the coast from North Carolina to Maine, and that it provides accurate estimates of storm surge.