Golden Star Tunicate (Botryllus schlosseri)

Yund, P.O., Collins, C., and Johnson, S.L.

2015. Evidence of a Native Northwest Atlantic COI Haplotype Clade in the Cryptogenic Colonial Ascidian Botryllus schlosseri. Biology Bulletin 228: 201-216.

The colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri should be considered cryptogenic (i.e., not definitively classified as either native or introduced) in the Northwest Atlantic. Although all the evidence is quite circumstantial, over the last 15 years most research groups have accepted the scenario of human-mediated dispersal and classified B. schlosseri as introduced; others have continued to consider it native or cryptogenic. We address the invasion status of this species by adding 174 sequences to the growing world- wide database for the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and analyzing 1077 sequences to compare genetic diversity of one clade of haplotypes in the Northwest Atlantic with two hypothesized source regions (the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean). Our results lead us to reject the prevailing view of the directionality of transport across the Atlantic. We argue that the genetic diversity patterns at COI are far more consistent with the existence of at least one haplotype clade in the Northwest Atlantic (and possibly a second) that substantially pre-dates human colonization from Europe, with this native North American clade subsequently introduced to three sites in Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. However, we agree with past researchers that some sites in the Northwest Atlantic have more recently been invaded by alien haplotypes, so that some populations are currently composed of a mixture of native and invader haplotypes.

Marine Mammals

Wallace, C.C. , Yund, P.O., Ford, T.E., Matassa, K.A., and Bass, A.

2013. Increase in Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria Isolated from Stranded Marine Mammals of the Northwest Atlantic. EcoHealth 10: 201-210.

Studies on marine mammals can inform our understanding of the environmental health of the ocean. To evaluate the potential for changes in antimicrobial resistance, we analyzed a database spanning 2004– 2010 that consisted of bacterial isolate identity and antimicrobial sensitivity for stranded pinnipeds in the Northwest Atlantic. Samples (n = 170) from treated animals yielded 310 bacterial isolates representing 24 taxa. We evaluated changes in antimicrobial class resistance from 2004 to 2010 for eight taxa. Escherichia coli displayed a significant increase in resistance to several antimicrobial classes. Other taxa displayed significant increases in resistance to aminoglycosides, and/or fluoroquinolones. In addition, we observed a significant increase in multiple antimicrobial resistance in cultures from untreated animals. These results demonstrate an increase in resistance among common bacterial pathogens of marine mammals over a time span of 6 years.

Snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis & A. normanni)

Beal, B.F. 

1983. Predation of juveniles of the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria (Linne) by the snapping shrimp Alpheus heterochaelis Say and Alpheus normanni Kingsley, Journal of Shellfish Research 3(1), 1-9.

Two species of snapping shrimp, A. heterochaelis and A. normanni , collected near Beaufort, North Carolina, during June 1982, and then held in the laboratory, used their major chelae to crush and consume juveniles of the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria. Snapping shrimp (19.1 to 39.4 mm in total body length [TL]) ate clams in the largest size-class (15.1 to 20.0 mm in shell length), but preferred smaller clams when offered equal numbers in this large size-class and in each of three smaller size-classes. Female snapping shrimp, regardless of species, exhibited a statistically higher predation rate than males when the results of five separate experiments were combined. The major chelae of the females of specimens of A. heterochaelis (>32.0 mm TL) were smaller than those of equal size males. Alpheus heterochaelis (19.1 to 27.2 mm TL) had a larger major chela for a given body length than did specimens of A. normanni; however, predation rates of the two species were not significantly different. The number of clams crushed was related to both the size of the major chelae and total body length for A. normanni, but not for A. heterochaelisAlpheus spp. inflict two types of shell damage which are identical to those caused by blue crabs. These results imply that previous studies may have overestimated the importance of crab predation and underestimated or ignored the importance of predation by snapping shrimp.

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