skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1635950

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. null (Ed.)
    The global distribution of primary production and consumption by humans (fisheries) is well-documented, but we have no map linking the central ecological process of consumption within food webs to temperature and other ecological drivers. Using standardized assays that span 105° of latitude on four continents, we show that rates of bait consumption by generalist predators in shallow marine ecosystems are tightly linked to both temperature and the composition of consumer assemblages. Unexpectedly, rates of consumption peaked at midlatitudes (25 to 35°) in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres across both seagrass and unvegetated sediment habitats. This pattern contrasts with terrestrial systems, where biotic interactions reportedly weaken away from the equator, but it parallels an emerging pattern of a subtropical peak in marine biodiversity. The higher consumption at midlatitudes was closely related to the type of consumers present, which explained rates of consumption better than consumer density, biomass, species diversity, or habitat. Indeed, the apparent effect of temperature on consumption was mostly driven by temperature-associated turnover in consumer community composition. Our findings reinforce the key influence of climate warming on altered species composition and highlight its implications for the functioning of Earth’s ecosystems. 
    more » « less
  2. Restoration is increasingly implemented as a strategy to mitigate global declines in biogenic habitats, such as salt marshes and oyster reefs. Restoration efforts could be improved if we knew how site characteristics at landscape scales affect the ecological success of these foundation species. In this study, we determined how salt marsh shoreline geomorphologies (e.g. with variable hydrodynamic energy, fetch, erosion rates, and slopes) affect the success of restored intertidal oyster reefs, as well as how fauna utilize restored reefs and forage along marsh habitats. We constructed oyster reefs along three marsh shoreline geomorphologies in May 2012: 1) “creek” (small‐fetch, gradual‐sloped shoreline), “ramp” (large‐fetch, gradual‐sloped shoreline), and “scarp” (large‐fetch, steep‐sloped shoreline). Following recruitment, oyster spat density was greatest on ramp reefs; however, 2 years later, the highest adult oyster densities were found on creek reefs. Total nekton and blue crab catch rates in trawl nets were highest in the creek, while piscivore catch rates in gill nets were highest along the scarp shoreline. We found no difference in predation on snails in the salt marsh behind constructed reef and nonconstructed reference sites, but there were more snails consumed in the creek shoreline, which corresponded with the distribution of their major predator—blue crabs. We conclude that oyster reef construction was most successful for oysters in small‐fetch, gradual‐sloped, creek environments. However, nekton abundance did not always follow the same trends as oyster density, which could suggest constructed reefs may offer similar habitat‐related functions (prey availability and refuge) already present along existing salt marsh borders.

    more » « less
  3. Long‐term monitoring is vital to understanding the efficacy of restoration approaches and how restoration may enhance ecosystem functions. We revisited restored oyster reefs 13 years post‐restoration and quantified the resident and transient fauna that utilize restored reefs in three differing landscape contexts: on mudflats isolated from vegetated habitat, along the edge of salt marsh, and in between seagrass and salt marsh habitat. Differences observed 1–2 years post‐restoration in reef development and associated fauna within reefs restored on mudflats versus adjacent to seagrass/salt marsh and salt marsh‐only habitats persisted more than 10 years post‐restoration. Reefs constructed on open mudflat habitats had the highest densities of oysters and resident invertebrates compared to those in other landscape contexts, although all restored reefs continued to enhance local densities of invertebrate taxa (e.g. bivalves, gastropods, decapods, polychaetes, etc.). Catch rates of juvenile fishes were enhanced on restored reefs relative to controls, but to a lesser extent than directly post‐restoration, potentially because the reefs have grown vertically within the intertidal and out of the preferred inundation regime of small juvenile fishes. Reef presence and landscape setting did not augment the catch rates of piscivorous fishes in passive gill nets, similar to initial findings; however, hook‐and‐line catch rates were greater on restored reefs than non‐reef controls. We conclude that ecosystem functions and associated services provided by restored habitats can vary both spatially and temporally; therefore, a better understanding of how service delivery varies among landscape setting and over time should enhance efforts to model these processes and restoration decision‐making.

    more » « less