The ability to exert self-control varies within and across taxa. Some species can exert self-control for several seconds whereas others, such as large-brained vertebrates, can tolerate delays of up to several minutes. Advanced self-control has been linked to better performance in cognitive tasks and has been hypothesized to evolve in response to specific socio-ecological pressures. These pressures are difficult to uncouple because previously studied species face similar socio-ecological challenges. Here, we investigate self-control and learning performance in cuttlefish, an invertebrate that is thought to have evolved under partially different pressures to previously studied vertebrates. To test self-control, cuttlefish were presented with a delay maintenance task, which measures an individual's ability to forgo immediate gratification and sustain a delay for a better but delayed reward. Cuttlefish maintained delay durations for up to 50–130 s. To test learning performance, we used a reversal-learning task, whereby cuttlefish were required to learn to associate the reward with one of two stimuli and then subsequently learn to associate the reward with the alternative stimulus. Cuttlefish that delayed gratification for longer had better learning performance. Our results demonstrate that cuttlefish can tolerate delays to obtain food of higher quality comparable to that of some large-brained vertebrates.
The quantification of positively buoyant marine plastic debris is critical to
understanding how concentrations of trash from across the world's ocean and
identifying high concentration garbage hotspots in dire need of trash removal.
Currently, the most common monitoring method to quantify floating plastic
requires the use of a manta trawl. Techniques requiring manta trawls (or
similar surface collection devices) utilize physical removal of marine plastic
debris as the first step and then analyze collected samples as a second step.
The need for physical removal before analysis incurs high costs and requires
intensive labor preventing scalable deployment of a real-time marine plastic
monitoring service across the entirety of Earth's ocean bodies. Without better
monitoring and sampling methods, the total impact of plastic pollution on the
environment as a whole, and details of impact within specific oceanic regions,
will remain unknown. This study presents a highly scalable workflow that
utilizes images captured within the epipelagic layer of the ocean as an input.
It produces real-time quantification of marine plastic debris for accurate
quantification and physical removal. The workflow includes creating and
preprocessing a domain-specific dataset, building an object detection model
utilizing a deep neural network, and evaluating the model's performance.
YOLOv5-S was the best performing model, which operates at a Mean Average
Precision (mAP) of 0.851 and an F1-Score of 0.89 while maintaining
Underwater visual monitoring methods are used broadly to evaluate coral reef conditions in the natural environment, but quantitative measurements of the coral holobiont has been largely restricted to photophysiological assessment of the endosymbionts. An underwater respirometer has been designed to make routine, diver-operated, non-invasive measurements at coral surfaces, but the realistic in situ accuracy and precision capabilities of this device has not been critically assessed; an essential step if these measurements are to be useful for quantifying spatial and seasonal patterns of coral metabolism. We developed specific protocols for this system to survey shallow coral colonies and detect metabolic profiles (respiration, photosynthesis, and biocalcification), diel cycles (day and night), and photosynthesis-irradiance curves. Analysis of data from in situ and laboratory-controlled conditions showed good replication among coral colonies and high precision measurements of temperature, oxygen and pH fluxes over 15-min incubation times without noticeable detrimental effects on coral health. Moreover, marked differences were observed in coral calcification rates between estuarine-influenced and coastal marine conditions, despite the absence of significant differences in visual appearance or other health indicators, revealing the system’s potential for early detection of marginally adverse conditions for coral metabolism. Its ease of operation and rapid quantification of the physiological status of the corals make this respirometer well suited for use by reef scientists, monitoring agencies, and stakeholders in biogenic reefs conservation efforts. Moreover, the high spatial and temporal resolution of these underwater respirometer data will have the potential to discriminate the effects of local stressors on coral health from those generated by broader changes associated with climate drivers.
New methods are needed to attract more interest to natural sciences among the public and young people. We established an underwater laboratory by placing cameras on an artificial reef (a sunken ferry) to create a new and inspiring way of teaching marine biology and showing science to the public. Here we describe the process and solutions to the technical challenges in designing the laboratory. Live-streaming from the underwater environment has great potential for teaching marine biology in new and exciting ways, and it could also be used more widely for stimulating interest among the general public in aquariums and museums.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and atmospheric concentrations have risen 2.5 times since the beginning of the Industrial age. While much of this increase is attributed to anthropogenic sources, natural sources, which contribute between 35% and 50% of global methane emissions, are thought to have a role in the atmospheric methane increase, in part due to human influences. Methane emissions from many natural sources are sensitive to climate, and positive feedbacks from climate change and cultural eutrophication may promote increased emissions to the atmosphere. These natural sources include aquatic environments such as wetlands, freshwater lakes, streams and rivers, and estuarine, coastal, and marine systems. Furthermore, there are significant marine sediment stores of methane in the form of clathrates that are vulnerable to mobilization and release to the atmosphere from climate feedbacks, and subsurface thermogenic gas which in exceptional cases may be released following accidents and disasters (North Sea blowout and Deepwater Horizon Spill respectively). Understanding of natural sources, key processes, and controls on emission is continually evolving as new measurement and modeling capabilities develop, and different sources and processes are revealed. This special issue of Limnology and Oceanography gathers together diverse studies on methane production, consumption, and emissions from freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems, and provides a broad view of the current science on methane dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. Here, we provide a general overview of aquatic methane sources, their contribution to the global methane budget, and key uncertainties. We then briefly summarize the contributions to and highlights of this special issue.