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  1. Dam, Hans G. (Ed.)

    Recent research has revealed the diversity and biomass of life across ecosystems, but how that biomass is distributed across body sizes of all living things remains unclear. We compile the present-day global body size-biomass spectra for the terrestrial, marine, and subterranean realms. To achieve this compilation, we pair existing and updated biomass estimates with previously uncatalogued body size ranges across all free-living biological groups. These data show that many biological groups share similar ranges of body sizes, and no single group dominates size ranges where cumulative biomass is highest. We then propagate biomass and size uncertainties and provide statistical descriptions of body size-biomass spectra across and within major habitat realms. Power laws show exponentially decreasing abundance (exponent -0.9±0.02 S.D.,R2= 0.97) and nearly equal biomass (exponent 0.09±0.01,R2= 0.56) across log size bins, which resemble previous aquatic size spectra results but with greater organismal inclusivity and global coverage. In contrast, a bimodal Gaussian mixture model describes the biomass pattern better (R2= 0.86) and suggests small (~10−15g) and large (~107g) organisms outweigh other sizes by one order magnitude (15 and 65 Gt versus ~1 Gt per log size). The results suggest that the global body size-biomass relationships is bimodal, but substantial one-to-two orders-of-magnitude uncertainty mean that additional data will be needed to clarify whether global-scale universal constraints or local forces shape these patterns.

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  2. 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. 
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  3. Dam, Hans G. (Ed.)
    The marine copepod, Tigriopus californicus , produces the red carotenoid pigment astaxanthin from yellow dietary precursors. This ‘bioconversion’ of yellow carotenoids to red is hypothesized to be linked to individual condition, possibly through shared metabolic pathways with mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Experimental inter-population crosses of lab-reared T . californicus typically produces low-fitness hybrids is due in large part to the disruption of coadapted sets nuclear and mitochondrial genes within the parental populations. These hybrid incompatibilities can increase variability in life history traits and energy production among hybrid lines. Here, we tested if production of astaxanthin was compromised in hybrid copepods and if it was linked to mitochondrial metabolism and offspring development. We observed no clear mitonuclear dysfunction in hybrids fed a limited, carotenoid-deficient diet of nutritional yeast. However, when yellow carotenoids were restored to their diet, hybrid lines produced less astaxanthin than parental lines. We observed that lines fed a yeast diet produced less ATP and had slower offspring development compared to lines fed a more complete diet of algae, suggesting the yeast-only diet may have obscured effects of mitonuclear dysfunction. Astaxanthin production was not significantly associated with development among lines fed a yeast diet but was negatively related to development in early generation hybrids fed an algal diet. In lines fed yeast, astaxanthin was negatively related to ATP synthesis, but in lines fed algae, the relationship was reversed. Although the effects of the yeast diet may have obscured evidence of hybrid dysfunction, these results suggest that astaxanthin bioconversion may still be related to mitochondrial performance and reproductive success. 
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