Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre - Journal Articles

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    Using tagging data and aerial surveys to incorporate availability bias in the abundance estimation of blue sharks (Prionace glauca)
    (PLoS, 2018-09-11) Nykänen, Milaja; Jessopp, Mark J.; Doyle, Thomas K.; Harman, Luke A.; Cañadas, Ana; Breen, Patricia; Hunt, William; Mackey, Mick; Ó Cadhla, Oliver; Reid, David; Rogan, Emer; Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; University College Cork; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ireland; ALNILAM Research and Conservation Ltd.
    There is worldwide concern about the status of elasmobranchs, primarily as a result of overfishing and bycatch with subsequent ecosystem effects following the removal of top predators. Whilst abundant and wide-ranging, blue sharks (Prionace glauca) are the most heavily exploited shark species having suffered marked declines over the past decades, and there is a call for robust abundance estimates. In this study, we utilized depth data collected from two blue sharks using pop-up satellite archival tags, and modelled the proportion of time the sharks were swimming in the top 1-meter layer and could therefore be detected by observers conducting aerial surveys. The availability models indicated that the tagged sharks preferred surface waters whilst swimming over the continental shelf and during daytime, with a model-predicted average proportion of time spent at the surface of 0.633 (SD = 0.094) for on-shelf, and 0.136 (SD = 0.075) for off-shelf. These predicted values were then used to account for availability bias in abundance estimates for the species over a large area in the Northeast Atlantic, derived through distance sampling using aerial survey data collected in 2015 and 2016 and modelled with density surface models. Further, we compared abundance estimates corrected with model-predicted availability to uncorrected estimates and to estimates that incorporated the average time the sharks were available for detection. The mean abundance (number of individuals) corrected with modelled availability was 15,320 (CV = 0.28) in 2015 and 11,001 (CV = 0.27) in 2016. Depending on the year, these estimates were ~7 times higher compared to estimates without the bias correction, and ~3 times higher compared to the abundances corrected with average availability. When the survey area contains habitat heterogeneity that may affect surfacing patterns of animals, modelling animals’ availability provides a robust alternative to correcting for availability bias and highlights the need for caution when applying “average” correction factors.
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    Selection and phylogenetics of salmonid MHC class I: wild brown trout (Salmo trutta) differ from a non-native introduced strain
    (Public Library of Science, 2013) O'Farrell, Brian; Benzie, John A. H.; McGinnity, Philip; de Eyto, Elvira; Dillane, Eileen; Coughlan, Jamie P.; Cross, Thomas F.; Higher Education Authority; Irish Government; Science Foundation Ireland; Marine Institute
    We tested how variation at a gene of adaptive importance, MHC class I (UBA), in a wild, endemic Salmo trutta population compared to that in both a previously studied non-native S. trutta population and a co-habiting Salmo salar population ( a sister species). High allelic diversity is observed and allelic divergence is much higher than that noted previously for cohabiting S. salar. Recombination was found to be important to population-level divergence. The alpha 1 and alpha 2 domains of UBA demonstrate ancient lineages but novel lineages are also identified at both domains in this work. We also find examples of recombination between UBA and the non-classical locus, ULA. Evidence for strong diversifying selection was found at a discrete suite of S. trutta UBA amino acid sites. The pattern was found to contrast with that found in re-analysed UBA data from an artificially stocked S. trutta population.
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    Future oceanic warming and acidification alter immune response and disease status in a commercial shellfish species, Mytilus edulis L.
    (Public Library of Science, 2014) Mackenzie, Clara L.; Lynch, Sharon A.; Culloty, Sarah C.; Malham, Shelagh K.; European Commission
    Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are leading to physical changes in marine environments including parallel decreases in ocean pH and increases in seawater temperature. This study examined the impacts of a six month exposure to combined decreased pH and increased temperature on the immune response and disease status in the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis L. Results provide the first confirmation that exposure to future acidification and warming conditions via aquarium-based simulation may have parallel implications for bivalve health. Collectively, the data suggests that temperature more than pH may be the key driver affecting immune response in M. edulis. Data also suggests that both increases in temperature and/or lowered pH conditions may lead to changes in parasite abundance and diversity, pathological conditions, and bacterial incidence in M. edulis. These results have implications for future management of shellfish under a predicted climate change scenario and future sustainability of shellfisheries. Examination of the combined effects of two stressors over an extended exposure period provides key preliminary data and thus, this work represents a unique and vital contribution to current research efforts towards a collective understanding of expected near-future impacts of climate change on marine environments.
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    Where the lake meets the sea: strong reproductive isolation is associated with adaptive divergence between lake resident and anadromous three-spined sticklebacks
    (Public Library of Science, 2015) Ravinet, Mark; Hynes, Rosaleen; Poole, Russell; Cross, Thomas F.; McGinnity, Philip; Harrod, Chris; Prodhl, Paulo A.; Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland
    Contact zones between divergent forms of the same species are often characterised by high levels of phenotypic diversity over small geographic distances. What processes are involved in generating such high phenotypic diversity? One possibility is that introgression and recombination between divergent forms in contact zones results in greater phenotypic and genetic polymorphism. Alternatively, strong reproductive isolation between forms may maintain distinct phenotypes, preventing homogenisation by gene flow. Contact zones between divergent freshwater-resident and anadromous stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.) forms are numerous and common throughout the species distribution, offering an opportunity to examine these contrasting hypotheses in greater detail. This study reports on an interesting new contact zone located in a tidally influenced lake catchment in western Ireland, characterised by high polymorphism for lateral plate phenotypes. Using neutral and QTL-linked microsatellite markers, we tested whether the high diversity observed in this contact zone arose as a result of introgression or reproductive isolation between divergent forms: we found strong support for the latter hypothesis. Three phenotypic and genetic clusters were identified, consistent with two divergent resident forms and a distinct anadromous completely plated population that migrates in and out of the system. Given the strong neutral differentiation detected between all three morphotypes (mean F-ST = 0.12), we hypothesised that divergent selection between forms maintains reproductive isolation. We found a correlation between neutral genetic and adaptive genetic differentiation that support this. While strong associations between QTL linked markers and phenotypes were also observed in this wild population, our results support the suggestion that such associations may be more complex in some Atlantic populations compared to those in the Pacific. These findings provide an important foundation for future work investigating the dynamics of gene flow and adaptive divergence in this newly discovered stickleback contact zone.
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    The reproductive biology of the soft shell clam Mya arenaria in Ireland and the possible impacts of climate variability
    (Hindawi Corporation, 2012) Cross, Maud E.; Lynch, Sharon A.; Whitaker, Allen; O'Riordan, Ruth M.; Culloty, Sarah C.; Riisgård, Hans Ulrik; European Commission
    Little is known about the biology of the softshell clam in Europe, despite it being identified as a potential species to culture for food in the future. Monthly samples of the softshell clam, Mya arenaria, were collected intertidally from Co. Wexford, Ireland, over a period of sixteen months. The mean weight of sampled individuals was 7 4 ± 4 . 9  g and mean length was 8 . 2 ± 0 . 2  cm. Histological examination revealed a female-to-male ratio of 1 : 1.15. In 2010, M. arenaria at this site matured over the summer months, with both sexes either ripe or spawning by August. A single spawning event was recorded in 2010, completed by November. Two unusually cold winters, followed by a warmer-than-average spring, appear to have affected M. arenaria gametogenesis in this area, potentially affecting the time of spawning, fertilisation success, and recruitment of this species. No hermaphrodites were observed in the samples collected, nor were any pathogens observed. Timing of development and spawning is compared with the coasts of eastern North America and with other European coasts.