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Our perception of deep-sea communities has evolved as various sampling approaches have captured different components of deep-sea habitats. We sampled midwater zooplankton assemblages in Monterey Bay, California to quantify community composition (abundance and biomass) and biodiversity (at the Order level) across three depth ranges, and the effects of sampling methodology on community parameters. We collected zooplankton using two types of opening-closing trawls [Tucker Trawl and Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS)] and video recordings from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). We quantified the relative contributions of microbes to community biomass using synoptic water-bottle casts and flow cytometry. Overall, the pelagic community was most similar between the Tucker trawl and ROV (dissimilarity = 52.4%) and least similar between the MOCNESS and ROV (dissimilarity = 65.8%). Dissimilarity between sampling methods was driven by the relative abundances of crustaceans and gelatinous taxa, where gelatinous animals (cnidarians, ctenophores, tunicates) were more abundant in ROV surveys (64.2%) and Tucker trawls (46.8%) compared to MOCNESS samples (14.5%). ROV surveys were the only method that sufficiently documented the most physically delicate taxa (e.g., physonect siphonophores, lobate ctenophores, and larvaceans). Biomass was also one order of magnitude lower in MOCNESS trawls compared to Tucker trawls. Due to these large differences, the relative contributions of microbes to total biomass were substantially lower in Tucker trawl samples (mean = 7.5%) compared to MOCNESS samples (mean = 51%). These results illustrate that our view of planktonic composition and community biomass is strongly dependent on sampling methodology.more » « less
Dam, Hans G. (Ed.)Siphonophores (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa) are abundant and diverse gelatinous predators in open-ocean ecosystems. Due to limited access to the midwater, little is known about the diets of most deep-dwelling gelatinous species, which constrains our understanding of food-web structure and nutrient flow in these vast ecosystems. Visual gut-content methods can rarely identify soft-bodied rapidly-digested prey, while observations from submersibles often overlook small prey items. These methods have been differentially applied to shallow and deep siphonophore taxa, confounding habitat and methodological biases. DNA metabarcoding can be used to assess both shallow and deep species’ diets under a common methodological framework, since it can detect both small and gelatinous prey. We (1) further characterized the diets of open-ocean siphonophores using DNA metabarcoding, (2) compared the prey detected by visual and molecular methods to evaluate their technical biases, and (3) evaluated tentacle-based predictions of diet. To do this, we performed DNA metabarcoding analyses on the gut contents of 39 siphonophore species across depths to describe their diets, using six barcode regions along the 18S gene. Taxonomic identifications were assigned using public databases combined with local zooplankton sequences. We identified 55 unique prey items, including crustaceans, gelatinous animals, and fish across 47 siphonophore specimens in 24 species. We reported 29 novel predator-prey interactions, among them the first insights into the diets of nine siphonophore species, many of which were congruent with the dietary predictions based on tentilla morphology. Our analyses detected both small and gelatinous prey taxa underrepresented by visual methods in species from both shallow and deep habitats, indicating that siphonophores play similar trophic roles across depth habitats. We also reveal hidden links between siphonophores and filter-feeders near the base of the food web. This study expands our understanding of the ecological roles of siphonophores in the open ocean, their trophic roles within the ‘jelly-web’, and the importance of their diversity for nutrient flow and ecosystem functioning. Understanding these inconspicuous yet ubiquitous predator-prey interactions is critical to predict the impacts of climate change, overfishing, and conservation policies on oceanic ecosystems.more » « less
It is imperative to understand how chemical preservation alters tissue isotopic compositions before using historical samples in ecological studies. Specifically, although compound‐specific isotope analysis of amino acids (CSIA‐AA) is becoming a widely used tool, there is little information on how preservation techniques affect amino acid
δ15N values. Methods
We evaluated the effects of chemical preservatives on bulk tissue
δ13C and δ15N and amino acid δ15N values, measured by gas chromatography/isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/IRMS), of (a) tuna ( ) and squid ( Thunnus albacares ) muscle tissues that were fixed in formaldehyde and stored in ethanol for 2 years and (b) two copepod species, Dosidicus gigas and Calanus pacificus , which were preserved in formaldehyde for 24–25 years. Eucalanus californicus Results
Tissues in formaldehyde‐ethanol had higher bulk
δ15N values (+1.4, ; +1.6‰, D. gigas ), higher T. albacares δ13C values for (+0.5‰), and lower D. gigas δ13C values for (−0.8‰) than frozen samples. The bulk T. albacares δ15N values from copepods were not different those from frozen samples, although the δ13C values from both species were lower (−1.0‰ for and −2.2‰ for E. californicus ) than those from frozen samples. The mean amino acid C. pacificus δ15N values from chemically preserved tissues were largely within 1‰ of those of frozen tissues, but the phenylalanine δ15N values were altered to a larger extent (range: 0.5–4.5‰). Conclusions
The effects of preservation on bulk
δ13C values were variable, where the direction and magnitude of change varied among taxa. The changes in bulk δ15N values associated with chemical preservation were mostly minimal, suggesting that storage in formaldehyde or ethanol will not affect the interpretation of δ15N values used in ecological studies. The preservation effects on amino acid δ15N values were also mostly minimal, mirroring bulk δ15N trends, which is promising for future CSIA‐AA studies of archived specimens. However, there were substantial differences in phenylalanine and valine δ15N values, which we speculate resulted from interference in the chromatographic resolution of unknown compounds rather than alteration of tissue isotopic composition due to chemical preservation.