Open Southern Ocean sea star database published in Ecology

After a long time in the making, the paper describing our open database of trophic markers and biometric measurements in Southern Ocean sea stars is out in Ecology. This massive effort, co-lead by Camille Moreau (ULB) and Baptiste Le Bourg (ULiège) as part of their respective PhD theses, contains almost 25000 measurements performed in nearly 2500 sea star specimens from 133 taxa, sampled in numerous locations along the Antarctic littoral and subantarctic islands between 1985 and 2017.

New paper - Importance of sea ice for Arctic food webs

Right on time for the holiday break, our newest paper is out in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. It was lead by Gustavo Yunda-Guarin, as part of his PhD research at Laval University (Québec, Canada). It is part of the Green Edge project special issue. For this paper, we combined stable isotopes and lipid trophic markers to show that sea ice-derived production is an important energy source for deep-sea benthos in the Canadian Arctic.

Review paper: State of art and best practices for fatty acid analysis in aquatic sciences

In November 2018, we hosted the “ Lipids in the ocean: Structure, function, ecological role and applications” conference in Brest. As part of a pre-conference workshop, we undertook the writing of collaborative review presenting the current state of knowledge of methods dedicated to both marine and freshwater lipid analyses, from sampling to data treatment. We aimed to provide lipid users with practical recommendations for best practices in field situations and advocate for protocol standardization and interlaboratory calibration.

Environmental stress, productivity and functional diversity - new paper in Ecology

Very happy to share this new paper just out in Ecology! It was lead by Joan Alfaro-Lucas, as part of his PhD research at Ifremer. Here’s how he pitches it: Here, we used hydrothermal vents as natural labs, because they are hotspots of primary productivity and biomass where productivity correlates partially with environmental stress, radically contrasting with the surrounding stable and energy-limited deep sea. At vents, altered seawater is emitted as vent fluid, which is hot, acidic, depleted of oxygen and has toxic compounds.

New paper on Antarctic amphipods

New paper out in Antarctic Science! For this one, we looked at mouthpart morphology in several species of Southern Ocean amphipods. Specifically, we aimed to assess whether the tremendous ecological diversity found in Antarctic amphipods, that occupy many different ecological niches and hold an important place in food webs, was reflected in their mandible morphology, and if mouthpart specialization could be used to describe amphipod feeding habits. It turns out that while mandible morphology adequately depicted some aspects of amphipod trophic ecology (e.

New paper about hydrothermal vent shrimps

After a few quiet months of cancelled conferences, postponed cruises, and home working, I’m very happy to share some news about a new publication. This paper, just published in Royal Society Open Science, is the output of Pierre Methou‘s thesis at Ifremer, that focused on emblematic, symbiont-bearing, hydrothermal vent shrimps Rimicaris spp. Here, we combined integrative taxonomy (morphological analyses, DNA sequencing) and ecological markers (stable isotopes of C, N and S) to re-examine ontogenic niche shifts and interspecific differences in resource use among R.

New paper: impact of fluid preservation on sea stars stable isotope ratios

New article out in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry! This paper is the first output of Baptiste Le Bourg‘s PhD thesis at ULiège. Baptiste’s PhD focuses on Southern Ocean sea stars. For part of his work, we were keen to use sea stars sampled during past campaigns and archived in lab or museum collections. However, these samples are typically stored in fluid preservatives (formaldehyde and/ or ethanol), which can influence their stable isotope composition.

New paper about carbon fluxes in Arctic fjords

New article out in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences! For this paper, lead by Maria Włodarska-Kowalczuk , we compared regional and local drivers of organic carbon fluxes in six fjords ranging from the North Atlantic (60°N) to the Arctic (81°N). Our results suggest that organic carbon content, origin and burial rates varied greatly according to latitude and presence of glacier inflow. This variability is important to take into account when trying to produce global estimates of fjord role in blue carbon storage, and for building scenarios of future climate change.

New paper in Journal of Animal Ecology

New paper about Antarctic seabirds, lead by Nina Dehnhard, just out in Journal of Animal Ecology. We combined GPS logging and stable isotopes to understand how Antarctica’s tremendous seasonal variability affected habitat and food segregation among closely related and sympatrically breeding species. Results suggest that all three species have a generalist behaviour and exhibit considerable isotopic niche overlap. This might be explained by the optimal foraging theory: in a very productive but highly variable such as coastal Antarctica, being a generalist, although it increases risks of interspecific competition, might be essential to efficiently exploit mobile prey stocks.