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6 Research products, page 1 of 1

  • European Marine Science
  • Other research products
  • BE
  • SDSN - Greece

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Capet, A.; Beckers, J.-M.; Grégoire, M.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    The Black Sea northwestern shelf (NWS) is a shallow eutrophic area in which the seasonal stratification of the water column isolates the bottom waters from the atmosphere. This prevents ventilation from counterbalancing the large consumption of oxygen due to respiration in the bottom waters and in the sediments, and sets the stage for the development of seasonal hypoxia. A three-dimensional (3-D) coupled physical–biogeochemical model is used to investigate the dynamics of bottom hypoxia in the Black Sea NWS, first at seasonal and then at interannual scales (1981–2009), and to differentiate its driving factors (climatic versus eutrophication). Model skills are evaluated by a quantitative comparison of the model results to 14 123 in situ oxygen measurements available in the NOAA World Ocean and the Black Sea Commission databases, using different error metrics. This validation exercise shows that the model is able to represent the seasonal and interannual variability of the oxygen concentration and of the occurrence of hypoxia, as well as the spatial distribution of oxygen-depleted waters. During the period 1981–2009, each year exhibits seasonal bottom hypoxia at the end of summer. This phenomenon essentially covers the northern part of the NWS – which receives large inputs of nutrients from the Danube, Dniester and Dnieper rivers – and extends, during the years of severe hypoxia, towards the Romanian bay of Constanta. An index H which merges the aspects of the spatial and temporal extension of the hypoxic event is proposed to quantify, for each year, the intensity of hypoxia as an environmental stressor. In order to explain the interannual variability of H and to disentangle its drivers, we analyze the long time series of model results by means of a stepwise multiple linear regression. This statistical model gives a general relationship that links the intensity of hypoxia to eutrophication and climate-related variables. A total of 82% of the interannual variability of H is explained by the combination of four predictors: the annual riverine nitrate load (N), the sea surface temperature in the month preceding stratification (Ts), the amount of semi-labile organic matter accumulated in the sediments (C) and the sea surface temperature during late summer (Tf). Partial regression indicates that the climatic impact on hypoxia is almost as important as that of eutrophication. Accumulation of organic matter in the sediments introduces an important inertia in the recovery process after eutrophication, with a typical timescale of 9.3 yr. Seasonal fluctuations and the heterogeneous spatial distribution complicate the monitoring of bottom hypoxia, leading to contradictory conclusions when the interpretation is done from different sets of data. In particular, it appears that the recovery reported in the literature after 1995 was overestimated due to the use of observations concentrated in areas and months not typically affected by hypoxia. This stresses the urgent need for a dedicated monitoring effort in the Black Sea NWS focused on the areas and months concerned by recurrent hypoxic events.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ingels, J.; Vanreusel, A.;
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    The urge to understand spatial distributions of species and communities and their causative processes has continuously instigated the development and testing of conceptual models in spatial ecology. For the deep sea, there is evidence that structural and functional characteristics of benthic communities are regulated by a multitude of biotic and environmental processes that act in concert on different spatial scales, but the spatial patterns are poorly understood compared to those for terrestrial ecosystems. Deep-sea studies generally focus on very limited scale ranges, thereby impairing our understanding of which spatial scales and associated processes are most important in driving structural and functional diversity of communities. Here, we used an extensive integrated dataset of free-living nematodes from deep-sea sediments to unravel the importance of different spatial scales in determining benthic infauna communities. Multiple-factor multivariate permutational analyses were performed on different sets of community descriptors (structure, structural and functional diversity, standing stock). The different spatial scales investigated cover two margins in the northeast Atlantic, several submarine canyons/channel/slope areas, a bathymetrical range of 700–4300 m, different sampling locations at each station, and vertical sediment profiles. The results indicated that the most important spatial scale for structural and functional diversity and standing stock variability is the smallest one; infauna communities changed substantially more with differences between sediment depth layers than with differences associated to larger geographical or bathymetrical scales. Community structure differences were greatest between stations at both margins. Important regulating ecosystem processes and the scale on which they occur are discussed. The results imply that, if we are to improve our understanding of ecosystem patterns of deep-sea infauna and the relevant processes driving their structure, structural and functional diversity, and standing stock, we must pay particular attention to the small-scale heterogeneity or patchiness and the causative mechanisms acting on that scale.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Bettencourt, R.; Rodrigues, M. I.; Barros, I.; Cerqueira, T.; Freitas, C.; Costa, V.; Pinheiro, M.; Egas, C.; Santos, R. S.;
    Project: FCT | PEst-OE/EEI/LA0009/2011 (PEst-OE/EEI/LA0009/2011), EC | HERMIONE (226354), FCT | PTDC/MAR/65991/2006 (PTDC/MAR/65991/2006)

    The deep-sea hydrothermal vent mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus is a symbiont bearing bivalve that is found in great abundance at the Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike vent sites and in close vicinity off the Azores region near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). The distinct relationships that vent mussels have developed with their physical and chemical environments are likely reflected in global gene expression profiles providing thus a means to distinguish geographically distinct vent mussels on the basis of gene expression studies, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, to assess the natural expression of bacterial genes and vent mussel immune genes and the constitutive distribution and relative abundance of endosymbiotic bacteria within gill tissues. Our results confirmed the presence of methanotroph-related endosymbionts in Menez Gwen vent mussels whereas Lucky Strike specimens seem to harbor a different bacterial morphotype when a methane monooxygenase gene specific probe was used. No qualitative differences could be visualized between Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike individuals when tested with sulfur-oxidizing-related nucleic-acid probe. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) studies revealed varied gene expression profiles in both Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike mussel gill tissues for the immune genes selected. Genes encoding transcription factors presented noticeably low levels of fold expression whether in MG or LS animals whereas the genes encoding effector molecules appeared to have higher levels expression in MG gill tissues. The peptidoglycan recognition molecule, encoding gene, PGRP presented the highest level of transcriptional activity among the genes analyzed in MG gill tissues, seconded by carcinolectin and thus denoting the relevance of immune recognition molecules in early stage of the immune responses onset. Genes regarded as encoding molecules involved in signaling pathways were consistently expressed in both MG and LS gill tissues. Remarkably, the immunity-related GTPase encoding gene demonstrated in LS samples, the highest level of expression among the signaling molecule encoding genes tested when expressions levels were compared between MG and LG animals. A differential expression analysis of bacterial genes between MG and LS indicated a clear expression signature in LS gill tissues. The bacterial community structure ensued from the 16S rRNA sequencing analyses pointed at a unpredicted conservation of endosymbiont bacterial loads between MG and LS samples. Taken together, our results support the premise that Bathymodiolus azoricus exhibits different transcriptional statuses depending on which hydrothermal vent site it is collected from and within the same collection site while exhibiting differential levels of expression of genes corresponding to different immune functional categories. The present study represents a first attempt to characterize gene expression signatures in hydrothermal vent animals issued from distinct deep-sea environmental sites based on immune and bacterial genes expressions.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Roscoe, H. K.; Roozendael, M.; Fayt, C.; Piesanie, A.; Abuhassan, N.; Adams, C.; Akrami, M.; Cede, A.; Chong, J.; Clémer, K.; +41 more
    Project: EC | MEGAPOLI (212520)

    In June 2009, 22 spectrometers from 14 institutes measured tropospheric and stratospheric NO2 from the ground for more than 11 days during the Cabauw Intercomparison Campaign of Nitrogen Dioxide measuring Instruments (CINDI), at Cabauw, NL (51.97° N, 4.93° E). All visible instruments used a common wavelength range and set of cross sections for the spectral analysis. Most of the instruments were of the multi-axis design with analysis by differential spectroscopy software (MAX-DOAS), whose non-zenith slant columns were compared by examining slopes of their least-squares straight line fits to mean values of a selection of instruments, after taking 30-min averages. Zenith slant columns near twilight were compared by fits to interpolated values of a reference instrument, then normalised by the mean of the slopes of the best instruments. For visible MAX-DOAS instruments, the means of the fitted slopes for NO2 and O4 of all except one instrument were within 10% of unity at almost all non-zenith elevations, and most were within 5%. Values for UV MAX-DOAS instruments were almost as good, being 12% and 7%, respectively. For visible instruments at zenith near twilight, the means of the fitted slopes of all instruments were within 5% of unity. This level of agreement is as good as that of previous intercomparisons, despite the site not being ideal for zenith twilight measurements. It bodes well for the future of measurements of tropospheric NO2, as previous intercomparisons were only for zenith instruments focussing on stratospheric NO2, with their longer heritage.

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2011
    Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ingels, Jeroen;
    Publisher: HERMIONE (Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man's Impact On European Seas)
    Country: Belgium
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Van Rooij, David; De Mol, Lies; Ingels, Jeroen; Henriet, Jean; Vanreusel, Ann;
    Publisher: HERMIONE (Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man's Impact On European Seas)
    Country: Belgium
    Project: EC | HERMIONE (226354)