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    ABSTRACT: In laboratory-based biofouling assays, the influence of physico-chemical surface characteristics on barnacle settlement has been tested most frequently using the model organism Balanus amphitrite (= Amphibalanus amphitrite). Very few studies have addressed the settlement preferences of other barnacle species, such as Balanus improvisus (= Amphibalanus improvisus). This study aimed to unravel the effects of surface physico-chemical cues, in particular surface-free energy (SFE) and surface charge, on the settlement of cyprids of B. improvisus. The use of well-defined surfaces under controlled conditions further facilitates comparison of the results with recent similar data for B. amphitrite. Zero-day-old cyprids of B. improvisus were exposed to a series of model surfaces, namely self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols with varying end-groups, homogenously applied to gold-coated polystyrene (PS) Petri dishes. As with B. amphitrite, settlement of cyprids of B. improvisus was influenced by both SFE and charge, with higher settlement on low-energy (hydrophobic) surfaces and negatively charged SAMs. Positively charged SAMs resulted in low settlement, with intermediate settlement on neutral SAMs of similar SFE. In conclusion, it is demonstrated that despite previous suggestions to the contrary, these two species of barnacle show similar preferences in response to SFE; they also respond similarly to charge. These findings have positive implications for the development of novel antifouling (AF) coatings and support the importance of consistency in substratum choice for assays designed to compare surface preferences of fouling organisms.
    Biofouling 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Ficopomatus enigmaticus, a euryhaline tube-building polychaete worm with a subtropical to temperate distribution, is an increasingly problematic fouling organism. In this study, laboratory protocols for maintaining adult broodstock, destructive spawning, larval culture and a settlement bioassay were developed. The method routinely yielded approximately 200 larvae per spawning adult. The mean number of eggs released by females was 1517 and the mean number of spermatozoids per male was 4.425 × 106. Fertilisation success, using an initial concentration of 2.5 × 106 spermatozoids and 45 eggs ml−1, was 76% after a contact time of 60 min. The first cleavage occurred after 20 min and the trocophore larval stage was attained by 18 h. Metatrochophores were observed 4 d post-fertilisation and were competent to settle 1 day later. The proportion of larvae that settled after 48 h was surface-dependent: 10.24% on glass, 1.39% on polystyrene and 11.07% on a poly(dimethylsiloxane) elastomer. The presence of a biofilm on glass increased the rate of settlement 7-fold compared to clean glass.
    Biofouling 07/2013; 29(7):869-878.
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    ABSTRACT: Methane production by anaerobic digestion (AD) of macroalgae (seaweed) is a promising algal bioenergy option. Work presented here is primarily based on the AD of Laminaria hyperborea using batch and continuously stirred tank reactors. Extrapolation of data from batch studies to long term continuous reactors was unreliable. A conservative organic loading rate (OLR) of 1gL(-1)d(-1) was used due to difficulties experienced in achieving steady state performance at an OLR of 1.5gL(-1)d(-1). Biogas composition and methane yields (60-70%) were near to values expected from terrestrial feedstocks. Biomass washout, as imposed by the dilution rate (i.e., hydraulic residence), had considerable bearing on the biogas generation profile, particularly at >3 hydraulic residences. Inhibition of methanogen growth was linked to nutrient deficiency and potentially antimicrobial compounds associated with the feedstock. Anaerobic digestion of L. hyperborea proved feasible over extended operational periods.
    Bioresource Technology 06/2013; 143C:221-230.
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    ABSTRACT: Biological adhesives are materials of particular interest in the fields of bio-inspired technology and antifouling research. The adhesive of adult barnacles has received much attention over the years, however the permanent adhesive of the cyprid - the colonisation stage of barnacles - is a material about which very little is presently known. We apply confocal laser-scanning microscopy to the measurement of contact angles between the permanent adhesive of barnacle cypris larvae and self-assembled monolayers of OH- and CH(3)-terminated thiols. Measurement of contact angles between actual bioadhesives and surfaces has never previously been achieved and the data may provide insight into the physicochemical properties and mechanism of action of these functional materials. The adhesive is a dual-phase system post-secretion, with the behaviour of the components governed separately by the surface chemistry. The findings imply that the cyprid permanent adhesion process is more complex than previously thought, necessitating broad re-evaluation of the system. Improved understanding will have significant implications for the production of barnacle-resistant coatings as well as development of bio-inspired glues for niche applications.
    Journal of Experimental Biology 02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: As implementation of the Ballast Water Convention draws nearer a major challenge is the development of protocols which accurately assess compliance with the D-2 Standard. Many factors affect the accuracy of assessment: e.g. large volume of ballast water, the shape, size and number of ballast tanks and the heterogeneous distribution of organisms within tanks. These factors hinder efforts to obtain samples that truly represent the total ballast water onboard a vessel. A known cell density of Tetraselmis suecica was added to a storage tank and sampled at discharge. The factors holding period, initial cell density and sampling interval affected representativeness. Most samples underestimated cell density, and some tanks with an initial cell density of 100cellsml(-1) showed <10cellsml(-1) at discharge, i.e. met the D-2 standard. This highlights difficulties in achieving sample representativeness and when applied to a real ballast tank this will be much harder to achieve.
    Marine pollution bulletin 01/2013; 68(1-2):99-105.
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the impacts of ocean acidification and copper as co-stressors on the reproduction and population level responses of the benthic copepod Tisbe battagliai across two generations. Naupliar production, growth, and cuticle elemental composition were determined for four pH values: 8.06 (control); 7.95; 7.82; 7.67, with copper addition to concentrations equivalent to those in benthic pore waters. An additive synergistic effect was observed; the decline in naupliar production was greater with added copper at decreasing pH than for decreasing pH alone. Naupliar production modelled for the two generations revealed a negative synergistic impact between ocean acidification and environmentally relevant copper concentrations. Conversely, copper addition enhanced copepod growth, with larger copepods produced at each pH compared to the impact of pH alone. Copepod digests revealed significantly reduced cuticle concentrations of sulphur, phosphorus and calcium under decreasing pH; further, copper uptake increased to toxic levels that lead to reduced naupliar production. These data suggest that ocean acidification will enhance copper bioavailability, resulting in larger, but less fecund individuals that may have an overall detrimental outcome for copepod populations.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e71257.
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    ABSTRACT: The hydrothermal vents on the East Scotia Ridge are the first to be explored in the Antarctic and are dominated by large peltospiroid gastropods, stalked barnacles (Vulcanolepas sp.) and anomuran crabs (Kiwa sp.) but their food webs are unknown. Vent fluid and macroconsumer samples were collected at three vent sites (E2, E9N and E9S) at distances of tens of metres to hundreds of kilometres apart with contrasting vent fluid chemistries to describe trophic interactions and identify potential carbon fixation pathways using stable isotopes. δ(13)C of dissolved inorganic carbon from vent fluids ranged from -4.6‰ to 0.8‰ at E2 and from -4.4‰ to 1.5‰ at E9. The lowest macroconsumer δ(13)C was observed in peltospiroid gastropods (-30.0‰ to -31.1‰) and indicated carbon fixation via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle by endosymbiotic gamma-Proteobacteria. Highest δ(13)C occurred in Kiwa sp. (-19.0‰ to -10.5‰), similar to that of the epibionts sampled from their ventral setae. Kiwa sp. δ(13)C differed among sites, which were attributed to spatial differences in the epibiont community and the relative contribution of carbon fixed via the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) and CBB cycles assimilated by Kiwa sp. Site differences in carbon fixation pathways were traced into higher trophic levels e.g. a stichasterid asteroid that predates on Kiwa sp. Sponges and anemones at the periphery of E2 assimilated a proportion of epipelagic photosynthetic primary production but this was not observed at E9N. Differences in the δ(13)C and δ(34)S values of vent macroconsumers between E2 and E9 sites suggest the relative contributions of photosynthetic and chemoautotrophic carbon fixation (rTCA v CBB) entering the hydrothermal vent food webs vary between the sites.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e65553.
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    ABSTRACT: When exploring immersed surfaces the cypris larvae of barnacles employ a tenacious and rapidly reversible adhesion mechanism to facilitate their characteristic 'walking' behaviour. Although of direct relevance to the fields of marine biofouling and bio-inspired adhesive development, the mechanism of temporary adhesion in cyprids remains poorly understood. Cyprids secrete deposits of a proteinaceous substance during surface attachment and these are often visible as 'footprints' on previously explored surfaces. The attachment structures, the antennular discs, of cyprids also present a complex morphology reminiscent of both the hairy appendages used by some terrestrial invertebrates for temporary adhesion and a classic 'suction cup'. Despite the numerous analytical approaches so-far employed, it has not been possible to resolve conclusively the respective contributions of viscoelastic adhesion via the proteinaceous 'temporary adhesive', 'dry' adhesion via the cuticular villi present on the disc and the behavioural contribution by the organism. In this study, high-speed photography was used for the first time to capture the behaviour of cyprids at the instant of temporary attachment and detachment. Attachment is facilitated by a constantly sticky disc surface - presumably due to the presence of the proteinaceous temporary adhesive. The tenacity of the resulting bond, however, is mediated behaviourally. For weak attachment the disc is constantly moved on the surface, whereas for a strong attachment the disc is spread out on the surface. Voluntary detachment is by force, requiring twisting or peeling of the bond - seemingly without any more subtle detachment behaviours. Micro-bubbles were observed at the adhesive interface as the cyprid detached, possibly an adaptation for energy dissipation. These observations will allow future work to focus more specifically on the cyprid temporary adhesive proteins, which appear to be fundamental to adhesion, inherently sticky and exquisitely adapted for reversible adhesion underwater.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e68085.
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    ABSTRACT: The hydrodynamic performance of two, recently developed, nanostructured and fluorinated polymer coatings was explored in a systematic experimental study using the Newcastle University Cavitation Tunnel. The experiments consisted of testing the two coatings on an axisymmetric body apparatus to measure their boundary layer flow and frictional drag simultaneously. The tests also included a smooth reference surface as well as a state-of-the-art commercial fouling-release coating (Intersleek® 900). The boundary layer measurements were performed using a two-dimensional Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) system whilst the direct frictional force measurements were taken using a special load cell installed in the testing body. Careful surface roughness measurements of the test surfaces were also performed including the use of a non-contact high precision laser profilometer. The tests and subsequent analysis of the data highlighted the exceptionally good frictional properties of all the coatings tested as well as some of the drag benefits of the new polymer coatings in the investigated Reynolds number range.
    Biofouling 01/2013; 29(1):39-52.
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    ABSTRACT: Marine microalgae represent a potentially valuable feedstock for biofuel production; however, large-scale production is not yet economically viable. Optimisation of productivity and lipid yields is required and the cost of biomass harvesting and dewatering must be significantly reduced. Microalgae produce a wide variety of biologically active metabolites, many of which are involved in inter- and intra-specific interactions (the so-called infochemicals). The majority of infochemicals remain unidentified or uncharacterised. Here, we apply known and candidate (undefined extracts) infochemicals as a potential means to manipulate the growth and lipid content of Nannochloropsis oculata-a prospective species for biofuel production. Five known infochemicals (β-cyclocitral, trans,trans-2,4-decadienal, hydrogen peroxide, norharman and tryptamine) and crude extracts prepared from Skeletonema marinoi and Dunaliella salina cultures at different growth stages were assayed for impacts on N. oculata over 24 h. The neutral lipid content of N. oculata increased significantly with exposure to three infochemicals (β-cyclocitral, decadienal and norharman); however the effective concentrations affected a significant decrease in growth. Exposure to particular crude extracts significantly increased both growth and neutral lipid levels. In addition, water-soluble extracts of senescent S. marinoi cultures induced a degree of flocculation in the N. oculata. These preliminary results indicate that artificial manipulation of N. oculata cultures by application of algae infochemicals could provide a valuable tool towards achieving economically viable large-scale algae biofuel production.
    Marine Biotechnology 04/2012; 14(6):774-781.
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