Barnacle (Megabalanus peninsularis) cover in the central Galápagos Islands, Ecuador from Jan 2016 to Jan 2017

Website: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/732651
Data Type: Other Field Results
Version:
Version Date: 2018-03-29

Project
» RAPID: Testing the ability of the 2015-2017 El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to drive a community-level regime shift in the Galapagos marine ecosystem (SPONGERAPDGALPGS)
ContributorsAffiliationRole
Witman, Jon D.Brown UniversityPrincipal Investigator, Contact
York, Amber D.Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager


Coverage

Spatial Extent: N:-0.14065 E:-90.23696 S:-0.74908 W:-91.32879
Temporal Extent: 2016-01-06 - 2017-01-26

Dataset Description

This dataset contains barnacle (Megabalanus peninsularis) cover in the central Galápagos Islands, Ecuador from Jan 2016 to Jan 2017.


Acquisition Description

The proportion of barnacle cover is derived from 0.25 m2 photoquadrats using point-intersect methodology.

Photoquadrat methodology is described in Witman (1985) was adapted for a digital photographic system using a Sony alpha7 24 Megapixel camera in a Nauticam Underwater housing with the Nikkor 15 mm underwater lens. Images were analyzed by overlaying a random grid of points over the digital photoquadrat image, recording the proportion of points occupied by Megabalanus peninsularis.


Processing Description

Data are raw, with no processing.

BCO-DMO Data Manager Processing Notes:
* added a conventional header with dataset name, PI name, version date
* modified parameter names to conform with BCO-DMO naming conventions
* "NA" values replaced with no data value 'nd' for "no data" 
* site positions added from dataset:  https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/628159
* site names modified to match site list format and other datasets in this project:
           Daphne -> Daphne Menor
           Roca Cousins -> Cousins
           Baltra -> North Baltra
           Gardner -> Islote Gardner


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Related Publications

Witman, J. D. (1985). Refuges, Biological Disturbance, and Rocky Subtidal Community Structure in New England. Ecological Monographs, 55(4), 421–445. doi:10.2307/2937130
Methods

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Parameters

ParameterDescriptionUnits
SiteSite name unitless
LatLatitude of site decimal degrees
LonLongitude of site decimal degrees
DateDate of sampling (UTC-6) in format yyyy-mm-dd unitless
Quadrat_NumberReplicate number of 0.25 m^2 photographic quadrat unitless
proportion_barnaclesProportion of quadrat occupied by Megabalanus barnacles derived from point-intersect methodology dimensionless


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Instruments

Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Sony alpha7
Generic Instrument Name
Camera
Dataset-specific Description
Sony alpha7 24 Megapixel camera in a Nauticam Underwater housing with the Nikkor 15 mm underwater lens
Generic Instrument Description
All types of photographic equipment including stills, video, film and digital systems.


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Deployments

RAPDGALPGS_sites

Website
Platform
Galapagos_Islands


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Project Information

RAPID: Testing the ability of the 2015-2017 El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to drive a community-level regime shift in the Galapagos marine ecosystem (SPONGERAPDGALPGS)


Coverage: Eastern Tropical Pacific, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (00.41100 S, 90.27525 W)


NSF Award Abstract:
Changes in the ecological structure, biodiversity and functioning of ecosystems have occurred in all types of habitats. Sometimes the change is so large and abrupt that the ecosystem switches to an alternate state, or regime, that persists for long periods of time (i.e. decades to millennia) such as the switch between a vegetated and desert ecosystem in the Sahara. Since regime changes may drastically alter the ecosystem goods and services provided to humankind, there is a practical as well as theoretical need to understand the conditions and drivers leading to tipping points between alternate regimes. To date, little is known about either the pre-conditions or drivers of regime change, particularly in subtidal habitats where long-term data on the ecological state of communities of interacting species prior to regime change is difficult to obtain. Most of the knowledge about tropical regime shifts in marine habitats has focused on shifts between corals and macroalgae even though these organisms represent only part of a species-rich ecosystem with many possible trajectories and outcomes of regime change. Consequently, the overarching goal of the proposed investigation is to test a conceptual model developed herein predicting how both El Niño and La Niña phases of the unusually strong 2016 ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) may drive a regime shift in the Galapagos rocky subtidal at the whole community level. As the target community involves sponges as a key component, in addition to barnacles, Crustose Coralline Algae (CCA), corals, sea urchins, sea stars and predatory fish, the model tests predictions from the Sponge Reef Hypothesis (SRH), an emerging paradigm predicting that sponges may increasingly dominate space as corals decline from future climate change (representing a coral to sponge regime change). Preliminary data indicate that counter to the SRH, sponges declined during the unusually warm temperatures at the outset of the present ENSO in Galapagos subtidal communities. However, sea urchin predation on sponges and CCA appears to have accelerated at the same time, so manipulative field experiments are proposed to rigorously test and differentiate the effects of ENSO elevated temperature on sponge mortality from the effects of enhanced sea urchin predation on sponges. These experimental results will be evaluated in the context of actual, long-term (13-16 year) changes in the whole community obtained by quantitative re-sampling of the benthic community at 12 sites in the central Galapagos throughout the present ENSO. Re-sampling this baseline will also enable the analysis of indicators leading up to the hypothesized regime change. Broader educational impacts of the project will transpire at all levels from high school students to graduate students and the public.

Although regime changes have been described as abrupt shifts to alternate, persistent states in many ecosystems in response to natural or anthropogenic drivers, research on regime change in bottom-dwelling communities of tropical oceans has largely focused on a switch from coral-dominated to macroalgal- dominated regimes. This narrow focus overlooks potential influences of the diverse assemblages of sessile invertebrates such as sponges that share space on the hard substrate of reefs with corals and could proliferate as a new regime if corals are diminished. The SRH is an emerging community ecological paradigm that posits that sponges may increasingly dominate space as corals decline from future climate change and ocean acidification, yet it has not been rigorously tested. The exceptionally strong El Niño occurring in the Galapagos Islands presents a unique opportunity evaluate the potential for climate oscillations to create regime shifts at the community level and to test the SRH because subtidal benthic community structure has been quantified at least annually since 1999 at multiple sites in the central Galapagos Islands. Recent 2015 surveys indicated significant mortality of sponges at multiple sites coincident with the present El Niño warming, counter to the SRH. However, sea urchin predation on sponges and Crustose Coralline Algae (CCA) appears to have accelerated at the same time, so manipulative field experiments are proposed to rigorously test and differentiate the effects of ENSO elevated temperature on sponge mortality from the effects of enhanced sea urchin predation on sponges. More specifically, eight main hypotheses along with four alternate hypotheses are developed and proposed from a new conceptual model predicting direct and indirect pathways of regime change in a community of CCA, sponges, barnacles, corals, sea urchins, sea stars and predatory fish. The research will be performed in the rocky subtidal at the 12 community baseline sites in the central Galapagos archipelago during four trips in 2016-2017 bracketing the El Niño and La Niña phases. The proposed combination of experimental and observational (i.e. baseline re-sampling) methods will enable a rigorous evaluation of climate-induced direct and indirect pathways of regime change in tropical benthic ecosystems.



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Funding

Funding SourceAward
NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (NSF OCE)

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