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Concept: Abalone


The abalone Haliotis diversicolor is a good model for study of the settlement and metamorphosis, which are widespread marine ecological phenomena. However, information on the global gene backgrounds and gene expression profiles for the early development of abalones is lacking.

Concepts: Gene expression, Evolution, Molecular biology, Developmental biology, Mollusca, Abalone, Ass’s ear abalone


Establishment of marine protected areas, including fully protected marine reserves, is one of the few management tools available for local communities to combat the deleterious effect of large scale environmental impacts, including global climate change, on ocean ecosystems. Despite the common hope that reserves play this role, empirical evidence of the effectiveness of local protection against global problems is lacking. Here we show that marine reserves increase the resilience of marine populations to a mass mortality event possibly caused by climate-driven hypoxia. Despite high and widespread adult mortality of benthic invertebrates in Baja California, Mexico, that affected populations both within and outside marine reserves, juvenile replenishment of the species that supports local economies, the pink abalone Haliotis corrugata, remained stable within reserves because of large body size and high egg production of the protected adults. Thus, local protection provided resilience through greater resistance and faster recovery of protected populations. Moreover, this benefit extended to adjacent unprotected areas through larval spillover across the edges of the reserves. While climate change mitigation is being debated, coastal communities have few tools to slow down negative impacts of global environmental shifts. These results show that marine protected areas can provide such protection.

Concepts: Climate, Weather, Ecosystem, Climate change, Solar variation, Abalone, Global warming, Thermohaline circulation


Abstract We have sequenced and characterized the complete mitochondrial DNA of an economically and ecologically important Pacific abalone, Haliotis discus hannai (Haliotidae, Gastropoda). The mitogenome of the Pacific abalone is 16,886 nt total length with a 39.6% G + C composition. Thirty-seven genes were identified including 13 protein-coding, 2 rRNA and 22 tRNA genes. We compared the mitogenome of the Pacific abalone to a putative relative species, H. rubra.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Mitochondrion, Mitochondrial DNA, RNA, Mitochondrial disease, Abalone, Gastropoda


The gills, or ctenidia, of marine gastropods serve as the sites for respiratory gas exchange. Cilia on the surface provide the pump that moves water through the mantle cavity and enhance diffusion. Because the gills are housed inside the shell, it is difficult to view them while they are functioning. Published images of gills show contracted, fragile structures that are distorted by the processes of dissection and preservation. Members of the families Fissurellidae (keyhole limpets) and Haliotidae (abalone) have openings in their shells through which water enters and/or exits. I inserted an endoscope connected to a video camera into the openings of the shells of living, non-anaesthetized individuals of the fissurellid Diodora aspera and the haliotid Haliotis rufescens. In both species, the dorsal afferent branchial vessel of the afferent gill axis appeared large and inflated, as did the leaflets that extended from either side of the axis. In D. aspera, the leaflets appeared to fill the mantle cavity and responded to touch, particles, and dye in the water by contracting quickly and slowly re-extending. In contrast, the gills of H. rufescens did not noticeably respond to disturbance. On the other hand, these gills showed a regular pattern of pleats that had not been described in the extensive anatomical literature of these common and economically significant animals. These results provide a novel view of the gastropod mantle cavity as a dynamic space filled by the gills, which divide the mantle cavity into distinct incurrent and excurrent chambers and produce a laminar flow of water through the cavity. J. Morphol., 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Mollusca, Gastropod shell, Abalone, Gastropoda, Intertidal zone, Limpet, Fissurellidae, Red abalone


Massive tsunamis induce catastrophic disturbance in marine ecosystems, yet they can provide unique opportunities to observe the process of regeneration. Here, we report the recovery of fauna after the 2011 tsunami in northeast Japan based on underwater visual censuses performed every two months over five years. Both total fish abundance and species richness increased from the first to the second year after the tsunami followed by stabilization in the following years. Short-lived fish, such as the banded goby Pterogobius elapoides, were relatively abundant in the first two years, whereas long-lived species, such as the black rockfish Sebastes cheni, increased in the latter half of the survey period. Tropical fish species were recorded only in the second and third years after the tsunami. The body size of long-lived fish increased during the survey period resulting in a gradual increase of total fish biomass. The recovery of fish assemblages was slow at one site located in the inner bay, where the impact of the tsunami was the strongest. Apart from fish, blooms of the moon jellyfish Aurelia sp. occurred only in the first two years after the tsunami, whereas the abundances of sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus and abalone Haliotis discus hannai increased after the second year. Although we lack quantitative data prior to the tsunami, we conclude that it takes approximately three years for coastal reef fish assemblages to recover from a heavy disturbance such as a tsunami and that the recovery is dependent on species-specific life span and habitat.

Concepts: Moon, Quantitative research, Aurelia aurita, Abundance, Abundance of the chemical elements, Tsunami, Abalone, Scuba diving


Intricate biomineralization processes in molluscs engineer hierarchical structures with meso-, nano- and atomic architectures that give the final composite material exceptional mechanical strength and optical iridescence on the macroscale. This multiscale biological assembly inspires new synthetic routes to complex materials. Our investigation of the prism-nacre interface reveals nanoscale details governing the onset of nacre formation using high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy. A wedge-polishing technique provides unprecedented, large-area specimens required to span the entire interface. Within this region, we find a transition from nanofibrillar aggregation to irregular early-nacre layers, to well-ordered mature nacre suggesting the assembly process is driven by aggregation of nanoparticles (∼50-80 nm) within an organic matrix that arrange in fibre-like polycrystalline configurations. The particle number increases successively and, when critical packing is reached, they merge into early-nacre platelets. These results give new insights into nacre formation and particle-accretion mechanisms that may be common to many calcareous biominerals.

Concepts: Electron, Biology, Nanotechnology, Materials science, Composite material, Transmission electron microscopy, Abalone, Mollusc shell


Assessing patterns of fisheries activity at a scale related to resource exploitation has received particular attention in recent times. However, acquiring data about the distribution and spatiotemporal allocation of catch and fishing effort in small scale benthic fisheries remains challenging. Here, we used GIS-based spatio-statistical models to investigate the footprint of commercial diving events on blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra) stocks along the south-west coast of Victoria, Australia from 2008 to 2011. Using abalone catch data matched with GPS location we found catch per unit of fishing effort (CPUE) was not uniformly spatially and temporally distributed across the study area. Spatial autocorrelation and hotspot analysis revealed significant spatiotemporal clusters of CPUE (with distance thresholds of 100’s of meters) among years, indicating the presence of CPUE hotspots focused on specific reefs. Cumulative hotspot maps indicated that certain reef complexes were consistently targeted across years but with varying intensity, however often a relatively small proportion of the full reef extent was targeted. Integrating CPUE with remotely-sensed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) derived bathymetry data using generalized additive mixed model corroborated that fishing pressure primarily coincided with shallow, rugose and complex components of reef structures. This study demonstrates that a geospatial approach is efficient in detecting patterns and trends in commercial fishing effort and its association with seafloor characteristics.

Concepts: Light, Overfishing, Abalone, Haliotidae, Scuba diving, Edible molluscs, LIDAR, Haliotis rubra


Ocean acidification (OA) increasingly threatens marine systems, and is especially harmful to calcifying organisms. One important question is whether OA will alter species interactions. Crustose coralline algae (CCA) provide space and chemical cues for larval settlement. CCA have shown strongly negative responses to OA in previous studies, including disruption of settlement cues to corals. In California, CCA provide cues for seven species of harvested, threatened, and endangered abalone. We exposed four common CCA genera and a crustose calcifying red algae, Peyssonnelia (collectively CCRA) from California to three pCO2 levels ranging from 419-2,013 µatm for four months. We then evaluated abalone (Haliotis rufescens) settlement under ambient conditions among the CCRA and non-algal controls that had been previously exposed to the pCO2 treatments. Abalone settlement and metamorphosis increased from 11% in the absence of CCRA to 45-69% when CCRA were present, with minor variation among CCRA genera. Though all CCRA genera reduced growth during exposure to increased pCO2, abalone settlement was unaffected by prior CCRA exposure to increased pCO2. Thus, we find no impacts of OA exposure history on CCRA provision of settlement cues. Additionally, there appears to be functional redundancy in genera of CCRA providing cues to abalone, which may further buffer OA effects.

Concepts: Algae, Photosynthesis, Species, Coral, Coral reef, Abalone, Red algae, Coralline algae


We present here the draft genome sequences for nine strains of Vibrio (V. cyclitrophicus, V. splendidus, V. tasmaniensis, and three unidentified) and one Shewanella strain. Strains were isolated from red (Haliotis rufescens) and white (Haliotis sorenseni) abalone, with and without exposure to “Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis,” the causative agent of abalone withering syndrome.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Abalone, Haliotidae, Iridescence, Red abalone, Haliotoidea


Transitions from marine to intertidal and terrestrial habitats resulted in a significant adaptive radiation within the Panpulmonata (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia). This clade comprises several groups that invaded the land realm independently and in different time periods, e.g., Ellobioidea, Systellomatophora, and Stylommatophora. Thus, mitochondrial genomes of panpulmonate gastropods are promising to screen for adaptive molecular signatures related to land invasions.

Concepts: Natural selection, Abalone, Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia, Limpet, Pulmonata, Gastropods, Heterobranchia