Special Issue "Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental and Sustainable Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Young-Seuk Park
Website
Guest Editor
Ecology and Ecological Informatics, Department of Biology, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
Interests: forest insects; community ecology; climate change; invasive species; biological invasion; ecological modelling; ecological informatics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Ihn-Sil Kwak
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Marine Technology, Chonnam National University Yosu, 59626, Korea
Interests: ecotoxicological response, chironomids morphology, eDNA food chain, EDCs, HSPs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current Special Issue will focus on food chains and food webs in aquatic ecosystems. Food chains and food webs describe the structure of communities and their energy flows. Recently, diverse methods have been developed for both experimental studies and theoretical/computational studies. They improve our fundamental ecological knowledge and are effectively used for various applications, including the monitoring and assessment of ecosystems. In particular, ecological monitoring and assessment have advanced in the last decades. Along with the progress of molecular and environmental DNA techniques, the process of monitoring and assessment has become rapid and accurate. A wide variety of ecological disturbances associated with temperature and salinity changes and other environmental factors are being recognized as threats to the food-chain functions of freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The current Special Issue will introduce various applications of new techniques and approaches for the study of food chains and food webs in aquatic ecosystems, covering ideas, concepts, methods, and policies; general experimental and computational studies are also welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Young-Seuk PARK
Prof. Dr. Ihn-Sil Kwak
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Food chains
  • food webs
  • computational studies
  • models
  • monitoring
  • assessment
  • environmental DNA (eDNA)

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(14), 5012; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10145012 - 21 Jul 2020
Abstract
Food chains and food webs describe the structure of communities and their energy flows, and they present interactions between species. Recently, diverse methods have been developed for both experimental studies and theoretical/computational studies on food webs as well as species interactions. They are [...] Read more.
Food chains and food webs describe the structure of communities and their energy flows, and they present interactions between species. Recently, diverse methods have been developed for both experimental studies and theoretical/computational studies on food webs as well as species interactions. They are effectively used for various applications, including the monitoring and assessment of ecosystems. This Special Issue includes six empirical studies on food chains and food webs as well as effects of environmental factors on organisms in aquatic ecosystems. They confirmed the usefulness of their methods including isotope, DNA-barcoding with gut contents, and environmental DNA for biological monitoring and ecosystem assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Effects of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate on Transcriptional Expression of Cellular Protection-Related HSP60 and HSP67B2 Genes in the Mud Crab Macrophthalmus japonicus
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2766; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10082766 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) has attracted attention as an emerging dominant phthalate contaminant in marine sediments. Macrophthalmus japonicus, an intertidal mud crab, is capable of tolerating variations in water temperature and sudden exposure to toxic substances. To evaluate the potential effects of DEHP [...] Read more.
Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) has attracted attention as an emerging dominant phthalate contaminant in marine sediments. Macrophthalmus japonicus, an intertidal mud crab, is capable of tolerating variations in water temperature and sudden exposure to toxic substances. To evaluate the potential effects of DEHP toxicity on cellular protection, we characterized the partial open reading frames of the stress-related heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) and small heat shock protein 67B2 (HSP67B2) genes of M. japonicus and further investigated the molecular effects on their expression levels after exposure to DEHP. Putative HSP60 and small HSP67B2 proteins had conserved HSP-family protein sequences with different C-terminus motifs. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that M. japonicus HSP60 (Mj-HSP60) and M. Japonicus HSP67B2 (Mj-HSP67B2) clustered closely with Eriocheir sinensis HSP60 and Penaeus vannamei HSP67B2, respectively. The tissue distribution of Heat shock proteins (HSPs) was the highest in the gonad for Mj-HSP60 and in the hepatopancreas for Mj-HSP67B2. The expression of Mj-HSP60 Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) increased significantly at day 1 after exposure to all doses of DEHP, and then decreased in a dose-dependent and exposure time-dependent manner in the gills and hepatopancreas. Mj-HSP67B2 transcripts were significantly upregulated in both tissues at all doses of DEHP and at all exposure times. These results suggest that cellular immune protection could be disrupted by DEHP toxicity through transcriptional changes to HSPs in crustaceans. Small and large HSPs might be differentially involved in responses against environmental stressors and in detoxification in M. japonicus crabs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Changing Isotopic Food Webs of Two Economically Important Fish in Mediterranean Coastal Lakes with Different Trophic Status
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2756; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10082756 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Transitional waters are highly productive ecosystems, providing essential goods and services to the biosphere and human population. Human influence in coastal areas exposes these ecosystems to continuous internal and external disturbance. Nitrogen-loads can affect the composition of the resident community and the trophic [...] Read more.
Transitional waters are highly productive ecosystems, providing essential goods and services to the biosphere and human population. Human influence in coastal areas exposes these ecosystems to continuous internal and external disturbance. Nitrogen-loads can affect the composition of the resident community and the trophic relationships between and within species, including fish. Based on carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope analyses of individuals, we explored the feeding behaviour of two ecologically and economically important omnivorous fish, the eel Anguilla anguilla and the seabream Diplodus annularis, in three neighbouring lakes characterised by different trophic conditions. We found that A. anguilla showed greater generalism in the eutrophic lake due to the increased contribution of basal resources and invertebrates to its diet. By contrast, the diet of D. annularis, which was mainly based on invertebrate species, became more specialised, focusing especially on polychaetes. Our results suggest that changes in macroinvertebrate and fish community composition, coupled with anthropogenic pressure, affect the trophic strategies of high trophic level consumers such as A. anguilla and D. annularis. Detailed food web descriptions based on the feeding choices of isotopic trophospecies (here Isotopic Trophic Units, ITUs) enable identification of the prey taxa crucial for the persistence of omnivorous fish stocks, thus providing useful information for their management and habitat conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Pretreatment Method for DNA Barcoding to Analyze Gut Contents of Rotifers
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10031064 - 05 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
We designed an experiment to analyze the gut content of Rotifera based on DNA barcoding and tested it on Asplanchna sp. in order to ensure that the DNA extracted from the rotifer species is from the food sources within the gut. We selected [...] Read more.
We designed an experiment to analyze the gut content of Rotifera based on DNA barcoding and tested it on Asplanchna sp. in order to ensure that the DNA extracted from the rotifer species is from the food sources within the gut. We selected ethanol fixation (60%) to minimize the inflow effects of treated chemicals, and commercial bleach (the final concentration of 2.5%, for 210 s) to eliminate the extracellular DNA without damage to the lorica. Rotifers have different lorica structures and thicknesses. Therefore, we chose a pretreatment method based on Asplanchna sp., which is known to have weak durability. When we used the determined method on a reservoir water sample, we confirmed that the DNA fragments of Chlorophyceae, Diatomea, Cyanobacteria, and Ciliophora were removed. Given this result, Diatomea and cyanobacteria, detected from Asplanchna, can be considered as gut contents. However, bacteria were not removed by bleach, thus there was still insufficient information. Since the results of applying commercial bleach to rotifer species confirmed that pretreatment worked effectively for some species of rotifers food sources, in further studies, it is believed to be applicable to the gut contents analysis of more diverse rotifers species and better DNA analysis techniques by supplementing more rigorous limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Spatial Distribution of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities Associated with Surrounding Land Cover and Water Quality
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 5162; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9235162 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The study aims to assess the spatial distribution of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in response to the surrounding environmental factors related to land use and water quality. A total of 124 sites were surveyed at the Seomjin River basin in May and September 2017, [...] Read more.
The study aims to assess the spatial distribution of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in response to the surrounding environmental factors related to land use and water quality. A total of 124 sites were surveyed at the Seomjin River basin in May and September 2017, respectively. We evaluated the abundance and composition of benthic macroinvertebrate communities based on nine subwatersheds. Subsequently, we compared the benthic information with the corresponding land use and water quality. To comprehensively explore the spatiotemporal distinction of benthic macroinvertebrate communities associated with those ambient conditions, we applied canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). The CCA results explicitly accounted for 61% of the explanatory variability; the first axis (45.5%) was related to land-use factors, and the second axis (15.5%) was related to water quality. As a result, the groups of benthic communities were distinctly characterized in relation to these two factors. It was found that land-use information is primarily an efficient proxy of ambient water quality conditions to determine benthic macroinvertebrates, such as Asellus spp., Gammarus spp., and Simulium spp. in a stream ecosystem. We also found that specific benthic families or genera within the same groups (Coleoptera, Diptera, Ephemeroptera, and Trichoptera) are also differentiated from ambient water quality changes as a secondary component. In particular, the latter pattern appeared to be closely associated with the impact of summer rainfall on the benthic community changes. Our study sheds light upon projecting benthic community structure in response to changes of land use and water quality. Finally, we conclude that easily accessible information, such as land-use data, aids in effectively characterizing the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates, and thus enables us to rapidly assess stream health and integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Discrimination of Spatial Distribution of Aquatic Organisms in a Coastal Ecosystem Using eDNA
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(17), 3450; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9173450 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The nonlinearity and complexity of coastal ecosystems often cause difficulties when analyzing spatial and temporal patterns of ecological traits. Environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring has provided an alternative to overcoming the aforementioned issues associated with classical monitoring. We determined aquatic community taxonomic composition using [...] Read more.
The nonlinearity and complexity of coastal ecosystems often cause difficulties when analyzing spatial and temporal patterns of ecological traits. Environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring has provided an alternative to overcoming the aforementioned issues associated with classical monitoring. We determined aquatic community taxonomic composition using eDNA based on a meta-barcoding approach that characterizes the general ecological features in the Gwangyang Bay coastal ecosystem. We selected the V9 region of the 18S rDNA gene (18S V9), primarily because of its broad range among eukaryotes. Our results produced more detailed spatial patterns in the study area previously categorized (inner bay, main channel of the bay and outer bay) by Kim et al. (2019). Specifically, the outer bay zone was clearly identified by CCA using genus-level identification of aquatic organisms based on meta-barcoding data. We also found significant relationships between environmental factors. Therefore, eDNA monitoring based on meta-barcoding approach holds great potential as a complemental monitoring tool to identify spatial taxonomic distribution patterns in coastal areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Comparison of Water Sampling between Environmental DNA Metabarcoding and Conventional Microscopic Identification: A Case Study in Gwangyang Bay, South Korea
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(16), 3272; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9163272 - 09 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Our study focuses on methodological comparison of plankton community composition in relation to ecological monitoring and assessment with data sampling. Recently, along with the advancement of monitoring techniques, metabarcoding has been widely used in the context of environmental DNA (eDNA). We examine the [...] Read more.
Our study focuses on methodological comparison of plankton community composition in relation to ecological monitoring and assessment with data sampling. Recently, along with the advancement of monitoring techniques, metabarcoding has been widely used in the context of environmental DNA (eDNA). We examine the applicability of eDNA metabarcoding for effective monitoring and assessment of community composition, compared with conventional observation using microscopic identification in a coastal ecosystem, Gwangynag Bay in South Korea. Our analysis is based primarily on two surveys at a total of 15 study sites in early and late summer (June and September) of the year 2018. The results of our study demonstrate the similarity and dissimilarity of biological communities in composition, richness and diversity between eDNA metabarcoding and conventional microscopic identification. It is found that, overall, eDNA metabarcoding appears to provide a wider variety of species composition, while conventional microscopic identification depicts more distinct plankton communities in sites. Finally, we suggest that eDNA metabarcoding is a practically useful method and can be potentially considered as a valuable alternative for biological monitoring and diversity assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chains and Food Webs in Aquatic Ecosystems)
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