The North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica, is one of the most endangered species of whale in the world. On 10 August 2004, two right whales were located in the Bering Sea using headings to right whale calls provided by directional sonobuoys. A satellite-monitored radio tag attached to one of these whales functioned for 40 days. Over the 40-day period, this whale moved throughout a large part of the southeast Bering Sea shelf, including areas of the outer-shelf where right whales have not been seen in decades. In September, multiple right whales were acoustically located and subsequently sighted by another survey vessel approaching a near-real-time position from the tag. An analysis of photographs confirmed at least 17 individual whales (not including the tagged whales). Genetic analysis of biopsy samples identified 17 individuals: 10 males and 7 females. The discovery of seven females was significant, as only one female had been identified in the past. Genetics also confirmed the presence of at least two calves. Although the future of this population is highly uncertain, the discovery of additional females and calves gives some hope that this most critically endangered of all whale populations may still possess the capacity to recover.
Numerous (84) acoustic detections of singing humpback whales were made during a spring (08 March-09 June 1997) research cruise to study sperm whales in the central and eastern North Pacific. Over 15,000 km of track-line was surveyed acoustically using a towed hydrophone array. Additionally, 83 sonobuoys were deployed throughout the study area. Detection rates were greatest in late March, near the Hawaiian Islands, and in early April, northeast of the islands. Only one detection was made after April. Detection rates for sonobuoys were unequal in three equally divided longitudinal regions of the study area. Two high density clusters of detections occurred approximately 1200-2000 km northeast of the Hawaiian Islands and were attributed to a large aggregation of migrating animals. The distribution of these detections corroborates findings of previous studies. It is possible that these animals were maintaining acoustic contact during migration. Two unexpected clusters of singing whales were detected approximately 900 to 1000 km west of central and southern California. The location of these detections may indicate a previously undocumented migration route between an offshore breeding area, such as the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, and possible feeding areas in the western North Pacific or Bering Sea.
It is predicted that Arctic Ocean acidity will increase during the next century as a result of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere and migration into ocean waters. This change has implications for sound transmission because low-pH seawater absorbs less sound than high-pH water. Altered pH will affect sound in the 0.3-10?kHz range if the criterion is met that absorption is the primary cause of attenuation, rather than the alternatives of loss in the ice or seabed. Recent work has exploited sound that meets the criterion, sound trapped in a Beaufort Sea duct composed of Pacific Winter Water underlying Pacific Summer Water. Arctic pH is expected to drop from 8.1 to 7.9 (approximately) over the next 30-50?yr, and effects of this chemical alteration on the intensity levels of this ducted sound, and on noise, are examined here. Sound near 900?Hz is predicted to undergo the greatest change, traveling up to 38% further. At ranges of 100-300?km, sound levels from a source in the duct may increase by 7?dB or more. Noise would also increase, but noise is ducted less efficiently, with the result that 1?kHz noise is predicted to rise approximately 0.5?dB.
The activity of the pituitary-gonadal axis (PG axis) in pre-migratory and homing chum salmon was examined because endocrine mechanisms underlying the onset of spawning migration remain unknown. Pre-migratory fish were caught in the central Bering Sea in June, July and September 2001, 2002 and 2003, and in the Gulf of Alaska in February 2006. They were classified into immature and maturing adults on the basis of gonadal development. The maturing adults commenced spawning migration to coastal areas by the end of summer, because almost all fish in the Bering Sea were immature in September. In the pituitaries of maturing adults, the copy numbers of FSHbeta mRNA and the FSH content were 2.5- to 100-fold those of the immature fish. Similarly, the amounts of LHbeta mRNA and LH content in the maturing adults were 100- to 1000-fold those of immature fish. The plasma levels of testosterone, 11-ketotestosterone and estradiol were higher than 10 nmol l(-1) in maturing adults, but lower than 1.0 nmol l(-1) in immature fish. The increase in the activity of the PG-axis components had already initiated in the maturing adults while they were still in the Gulf of Alaska in winter. In the homing adults, the pituitary contents and the plasma levels of gonadotropins and plasma sex steroid hormones peaked during upstream migration from the coast to the natal hatchery. The present results thus indicate that the seasonal increase in the activity of the PG axis is an important endocrine event that is inseparable from initiation of spawning migration of chum salmon.
Two new species of the genus Stelletta and one new species of Ancorina are described from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and compared to congeners of the region. This is the first record of the genus Ancorina in the North Pacific Ocean. Stelletta ovalae Tanita 1965 is also reported for the first time from the Bering Sea and Alaska.
A strictly aerobic, Gram-stain-negative, rod-shaped, motile by gliding and yellow-orange pigmented flavobacterium, designated strain 9Alg 151T, was isolated from the Pacific red alga Tichocarpus crinitus. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that the novel strain fell into the genus Aquimarina of the family Flavobacteriaceae with a 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity range of 94.2-98.2?% to the recognized species of the genus. Strain 9Alg 151T grew in the presence of 0.5-5?%?NaCl and at 5-34?°C, and hydrolysed aesculin, agar, gelatin, starch, Tween 40, DNA and chitin. The predominant fatty acids were iso-C17?:?0 3-OH, iso-C15?:?0, iso-C15?:?1 G, iso-C15?:?0 3-OH, iso-C16?:?0, iso-C17?:?1?8c and summed feature 3. The polar lipid profile comprised phosphatidylethanolamine, three unidentified aminolipids and three unidentified lipids. The major respiratory quinone was MK-6. The genomic DNA G+C?content was 32.6?mol%. On the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence data, and chemotaxonomic and phenotypic characteristics, strain 9Alg 151T represents a novel species of the genus Aquimarina, for which the name Aquimarina algiphila sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is 9Alg 151T (=KCTC 23622T=KMM 6462T).
The Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) population in Prince William Sound, Alaska crashed in 1993 and has yet to recover, affecting food web dynamics in the Sound and impacting Alaskan communities. To help researchers design and implement the most effective monitoring, management, and recovery programs, a Bayesian assessment of Prince William Sound herring was developed by reformulating the current model used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Bayesian model estimated pre-fishery spawning biomass of herring age-3 and older in 2013 to be a median of 19,410 mt (95% credibility interval 12,150-31,740 mt), with a 54% probability that biomass in 2013 was below the management limit used to regulate fisheries in Prince William Sound. The main advantages of the Bayesian model are that it can more objectively weight different datasets and provide estimates of uncertainty for model parameters and outputs, unlike the weighted sum-of-squares used in the original model. In addition, the revised model could be used to manage herring stocks with a decision rule that considers both stock status and the uncertainty in stock status.
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Three major mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups were identified in 5 data sets for North Pacific and Bering Sea walleye pollock. The common haplogroup A showed mirror-image clines on both sides of the North Pacific with high frequencies in southern areas (P(A) > 0.84) and low frequencies in the Bering Sea (P(A) 0.91), whereas frequencies of groups B and C showed negative correlations with temperature. Selection may be operating directly on mtDNA variability or may be mediated through cytonuclear interactions. This biogeographic evidence adds to a growing body of literature indicating that selection may play a greater role in sculpting mtDNA variability than previously thought.
This work describes Bryozoa of the orders Cyclostomata and Ctenostomata found associated with polymetallic nodules collected by box-coring in the eastern part of the Russian exploration area of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ) under contract to Yuzhmorgeologiya. Scanning electron microscopic study of 358 cyclostome colonies and 14 ctenostome colonies from 4510-5280 m depth has resulted in the recognition of two new species of Ctenostomata, and 14 new species, nine new genera and two new families of Cyclostomata; three additional species of Cyclostomata are left in open nomenclature pending the discovery of missing reproductive characters. The taxonomic novelty is thus notable. One of the new Ctenostomata represents the first living example of the previously monotypic Late Cretaceous genus Pierrella. Twelve of the new cyclostome taxa have well-developed gonozooids, indicating that embryonic cloning (polyembryony) is normal in this deep-sea environment. On the other hand, one indeterminate tubuliporine and two rectangulates have dimorphic peristomes. In the latter two cases, enough mature colonies were found to suggest that this feature is normal, and that the dimorphic zooids are possibly female-in other words, capacious incubation chambers are apparently lacking, and therefore polyembryony would also be lacking or reduced. In one of these species, evidence is presented to suggest that the ancestrular zooid can reproduce precociously. Of the species reported here, only one has previously been found outside the exploration area, highlighting both the limited knowledge we have of bryozoans in the deep Pacific and/or a fauna that is largely endemic to the nodule environment. An additional 31 species of Cheilostomata have also been discovered that will be described in a subsequent publication. Most bryozoans are macrofaunal-sized, so are both inadequately determinable and overlooked in images obtained by remotely operated vehicles; yet, with 50 species, Bryozoa is the most speciose sessile macrofaunal phylum on the nodules. Nodules constitute hard substrata in an area otherwise mostly inhospitable for Bryozoa, hence mining would lead to loss of critical habitat. Further, as suspension-feeders, bryozoans are highly susceptible to smothering by suspended sediment, and non-mined areas closely adjacent to extraction zones would likely also be affected and their associated bryozoan fauna obliterated. More data are required on the distribution of the CCFZ bryozoan species elsewhere in the east Central Pacific to determine if mining would lead to local taxon extirpation or global extinction at both low and high taxonomic levels.
Oceans cover over two-thirds of the Earth's surface, and the particles emitted to the atmosphere by waves breaking on sea surfaces provide an important contribution to the planetary albedo. During the International Chemistry Experiment in the Arctic LOwer Troposphere (ICEALOT) cruise on the R/V Knorr in March and April of 2008, organic mass accounted for 15-47% of the submicron particle mass in the air masses sampled over the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. A majority of this organic component (0.1-0.4 microm(-3)) consisted of organic hydroxyl (including polyol and other alcohol) groups characteristic of saccharides, similar to biogenic carbohydrates found in seawater. The large fraction of organic hydroxyl groups measured during ICEALOT in submicron atmospheric aerosol exceeded those measured in most previous campaigns but were similar to particles in marine air masses in the open ocean (Southeast Pacific Ocean) and coastal sites at northern Alaska (Barrow) and northeastern North America (Appledore Island and Chebogue Point). The ocean-derived organic hydroxyl mass concentration during ICEALOT correlated strongly to submicron Na concentration and wind speed. The observed submicron particle ratios of marine organic mass to Na were enriched by factors of approximately 10(2)-approximately 10(3) over reported sea surface organic to Na ratios, suggesting that the surface-controlled process of film bursting is influenced by the dissolved organic components present in the sea surface microlayer. Both marine organic components and Na increased with increasing number mean diameter of the accumulation mode, suggesting a possible link between organic components in the ocean surface and aerosol-cloud interactions.