Su Sponaugle

Su Sponaugle
Oregon State University | OSU · Department of Integrative Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

102
Publications
20,322
Reads
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8,366
Citations
Citations since 2016
33 Research Items
3421 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
Introduction
Su Sponaugle currently works at the Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University. Su does research in Marine Biology and Ecology.
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - present
Oregon State University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
July 1998 - June 2013
University of Miami
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 1995 - June 1998
State University of New York
Position
  • Postdoc/Adjunct Lecturer

Publications

Publications (102)
Preprint
Full-text available
Doliolids are common gelatinous grazers in marine ecosystems around the world and likely influence carbon cycling due to their large population sizes and high growth and excretion rates. Aggregations or blooms of these organisms occur frequently, but they are difficult to measure or predict because doliolids are fragile, under sampled with conventi...
Article
Blooms of the colonial pelagic tunicate Pyrosoma atlanticum in 2014–2018 followed a marine heatwave in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Pyrosome blooms could alter pelagic food webs of the northern California Current (NCC) by accelerating the biological pump via active transport, fecal pellet production and mortality events. Although aggregations of P. a...
Article
Despite the ecological importance of microscale (0.01–1 meter) and fine-scale (1 to hundreds of meters) plankton patchiness, the dimensions and taxonomic identity of patches in the ocean are nearly unknown. We used underwater imaging to identify the position, horizontal length scale, and density of taxa-specific patches of 32 million organisms repr...
Article
Full-text available
a Cnidarian jellyfish can be dominant players in the food webs of highly productive Eastern Boundary Currents (EBC). However, the trophic role of inconspicuous hydromedusae in EBCs has traditionally been overlooked. We collected mesozooplankton from five stations along two cross-shelf transects in the Northern California Current (NCC) during winter...
Article
Our knowledge of zooplankton in proximity to benthic marine habitats is hampered by challenges sampling near complex substrates. To address this, we deployed light traps near the benthos of four depth-specific coral reef ecosystems to measure nocturnal zooplankton abundance and assemblage composition. Replicate light traps at shallow shelf (SS10, <...
Article
Full-text available
Restricted to low-productivity environments near their thermal maxima, larval tunas may be threatened by warming global temperatures, yet our understanding of how they are constrained is limited. We examined blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus, presumptive) diet and growth in the context of their prey and predators in the Straits of Florida in 2 year...
Article
Full-text available
Tidally controlled river plumes form distinct frontal boundaries that can alter the spatial distributions of larval fishes and their planktonic prey and predators. Variable in nature, they may expose larval fishes to different trophic environments over small spatio-temporal scales, with unknown consequences for survival and recruitment. In the nort...
Article
Freshwater input into nearshore continental shelf waters from coastal river-estuarine plumes can greatly alter the physical and trophic environments experienced by fish larvae. However, the biological consequences of plume encounter on larval fish survival remain equivocal, largely due to the extreme variability of these systems but also because tr...
Article
River plumes discharging into continental shelf waters have the potential to influence the distributions, predator-prey relationships, and thus survival of nearshore marine fish larvae, but few studies have been able to characterize the plume environment at sufficiently fine scales to resolve the underlying mechanisms. We used a high-resolution pla...
Article
The Northern California Current (NCC) is a complex, dynamic system experiencing distinctly different levels of upwelling and downwelling, ranging from intermittent upwelling in summer to downwelling in winter. In recent years, warm water anomalies along the Oregon coast have had significant effects on coastal plankton assemblages. To resolve some o...
Article
Full-text available
Predation is a major source of mortality in the early life stages of fishes and a driving force in shaping fish populations. Theoretical, modeling, and laboratory studies have generated hypotheses that larval fish size, age, growth rate, and development rate affect their susceptibility to predation. Empirical data on predator selection in the wild...
Article
Full-text available
Eddies can enhance primary as well as secondary production, creating a diverse meso- and sub-mesoscale seascape at the eddy front which can affect the aggregation of plankton and particles. Due to the coarse resolution provided by sampling with plankton nets, our knowledge of plankton distributions at these edges is limited. We used a towed, undula...
Article
Full-text available
For coral reef organisms with bipartite lifecycles, the ontogenetic shift from the pelagic larval stage to the benthic environment is often associated with high mortality that may be influenced by the local environment as well as individual traits that alter vulnerability to predation. Habitat variability such as food availability and competition f...
Poster
Full-text available
Larval fishes generally experience up to 99% mortality due to starvation and predation, hence finding prey is of high importance to their survival. The presence of other abundant predators such as hydromedusan jellyfish, might mean that these larval fishes must compete for food. Competition could lead to lower larval fish survival rates, but these...
Article
Full-text available
Invasion of the western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico by the Indo-Pacific lionfish, Pterois volitans/miles (Scopaenidae), has caused well-documented critical changes to coral reef ecosystems throughout the region. Most efforts to quantify these changes have focused on the charismatic adult stage; much less is known about the pel...
Chapter
Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) have the potential to supply larvae to help sustain spatially discrete shallow-reef populations (Deep Reef Refugia Hypothesis); however, for this to be viable, mesophotic populations must be ecologically connected to shallow-reef populations. Three primary criteria for successful connectivity are: (1) robust popul...
Article
Full-text available
Growth is key to the survival of fishes during their early life and ultimately affects annual recruitment to adult populations. To evaluate early life history traits of two commercially harvested fishes, splitnose (Sebastes diploproa) and redbanded (S. babcocki) rockfishes, we examined the otolith microstructure of juveniles of both species that se...
Article
Full-text available
Prey availability and predation pressure are thought to be key constraints on larval growth, especially in low-productivity, subtropical environments. Yet, measuring their effects on larval fishes has been challenging, given the dynamic biophysical drivers of plankton distributions and small scales of interactions. We integrated fine-scale net tows...
Article
Full-text available
For most benthic marine organisms, settlement of pelagic offspring to bottom-associated habitats is a necessary step in the replenishment of adult populations. Quantifying spatial and temporal variation in settlement is therefore important to fully understand population dynamics, inform fisheries management targets, and design effective spatial man...
Article
Full-text available
Coastal river-dominated oceans are physically complex, biologically productive, and intimately connected to human socioeconomic activity. The Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent advection of oil into coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico (nGOM) highlighted the complex linkages among oceanographic processes within this river-dominated s...
Article
Full-text available
The special issue brings together selected contributions from the 39th Annual Larval Fish Conference hosted by the University of Vienna, Austria, and presents the latest research and understanding of dispersal patterns and processes of early life stages of fishes of various aquatic environments around the world (open ocean, coastal areas, estuaries...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental clines such as latitude and depth that limit species’ distributions may be associated with gradients in habitat suitability that can affect the fitness of an organism. With the global loss of shallow-water photosynthetic coral reefs, mesophotic coral ecosystems (~30–150 m) may be buffered from some environmental stressors, thereby ser...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification and other environmental changes pose an ecological challenge to marine organisms globally. Although the youngest life stages of these organism are likely to be most affected, a limited number of studies of larval fishes have investigated the effects of combined stressors. We conducted two experiments on larval cobia (Rachycentro...
Article
Full-text available
Big data " are becoming common in biological oceanography with the advent of sampling technologies that can generate multiple, high-frequency data streams. Given the need for " big " data in ocean health assessments and ecosystem management, identifying and implementing robust, and efficient processing approaches is a challenge for marine scientist...
Article
Benthic marine populations are often replenished by a combination of larvae from local and distant sources. To promote retention of locally spawned larvae in strong, unidirectional boundary current systems, benthic marine organisms must utilize biophysical mechanisms to minimize advective loss. We examined patterns in larval fish abundance, age dis...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Larval dispersal in the ocean is thought to be highly diffusive, but the pathways larvae follow during their pelagic stage are largely unknown, as direct tracking of larvae in the open ocean is not yet possible. We provide the first evidence of continuous aggregation of fish larvae over extensive periods in an oceanographically complex...
Article
Full-text available
Global habitat decline may displace organisms from optimal environments, increasing reliance on ecosystems with lower habitat suitability and availability. For coral reef fishes, potentially marginal mesophotic coral ecosystems (~30–150 m) may be buffered from anthropogenic stressors; however, variation in habitat quality across depths can alter po...
Article
Full-text available
As humans expand into natural environments, populations of wild organisms may become relegated to marginal habitats at the boundaries of their distributions. In the ocean, mesophotic coral ecosystems (30–150 m) at the depth limit of photosynthetic reefs are hypothesized to act as refuges that are buffered from anthropogenic and natural disturbances...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Quantifying connectivity among geographically separated subpopulations is necessary for successful management and conservation of marine resources, and a mechanistic understanding of growth and mortality during the pelagic larval stage is essential for obtaining accurate predictions of dispersal and population replenishment. Our findin...
Data
Data presented here are subset of a larger plankton imagery data set collected in the subtropical Straits of Florida from 2014-05-28 to 2014-06-14. Imagery data were collected using the In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS-2) as part of a NSF-funded project to assess the biophysical drivers affecting fine-scale interactions between larval...
Article
Full-text available
Like most benthic marine organisms, coral reef fishes produce larvae that traverse open ocean waters before settling and metamorphosing into juveniles. Where larvae are transported and how they survive is a central question in marine and fisheries ecology. While there is increasing success in modelling potential larval trajectories, our knowledge o...
Chapter
The local diversity and global richness of coral reef fishes, along with the diversity manifested in their morphology, behaviour and ecology, provides fascinating and diverse opportunities for study. Reflecting the very latest research in a broad and ever-growing field, this comprehensive guide is a must-read for anyone interested in the ecology of...
Article
Full-text available
In the past 100 years since the birth of fisheries oceanography, researchon the early life history of fishes, particularly the larval stage, has been extensive, and much progress has been made in identifying the mechanisms by which factors suchas feeding success, predation, or dispersal can influence larval survival. However, in recent years, the s...
Article
Full-text available
Negative impacts of CO2-induced ocean acidification on marine organisms have proven to be variable both among and within taxa. For fishes, inconsistency confounds our ability to draw conclusions that apply across taxonomic groups and highlights the limitations of a nascent field with a narrow scope of study species. Here, we present data from a ser...
Article
Full-text available
Many marine populations exhibit high variability in the recruitment of young into the population. While environmental cycles and oceanography explain some patterns of replenishment, the role of other growth-related processes in influencing settlement and recruitment is less clear. Examination of a 65-mo. time series of recruitment of a common coral...
Article
An individual's phenotype will usually influence its probability of survival. However, when evaluating the dynamics of populations, the role of selective mortality is not always clear. Not all mortality is selective, patterns of selective mortality may vary, and it is often unknown how selective mortality compares or interacts with other sources of...
Article
Full-text available
Variations in larval fish growth rates are largely the result of variability in biotic and abiotic characteristics of the feeding environment experienced by each individual. An assessment of an individual's overall feeding success (i.e. accumulation of utilizable organic matter) can best be achieved at the time of capture when the relationships amo...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification affects a wide diversity of marine organisms and is of particular concern for vulnerable larval stages critical to population replenishment and connectivity. Whereas it is well known that ocean acidification will negatively affect a range of calcareous taxa, the study of fishes is more limited in both depth of understanding and...
Article
Currently, ocean acidification is occurring at a faster rate than at any time in the last 300 million years, posing an ecological challenge to marine organisms globally. There is a critical need to understand the effects of acidification on the vulnerable larval stages of marine fishes, as there is potential for large ecological and economic impact...
Article
Full-text available
Selective mortality during the early life stages in marine organisms can affect the magnitude and composition of recruitment, yet these processes have not been examined in economically important predatory coral reef fishes. Utilizing 3 different stage-specific sampling techniques (shipboard plankton tows, larval light traps, juvenile surveys/seines...
Article
Full-text available
Selective mortality is an important process influencing both the dynamics of marine populations and the evolution of their life histories. Despite a large and growing interest in measuring selective mortality, studies of marine species can face some serious methodological and analytical challenges. In particular, many studies of selection in marine...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reef fish recruitment to the upper Florida Keys was monitored monthly for 7 years (2003–2009) to establish a baseline and test whether recruitment varied between reserve and non-reserve sites. Recruits <30 days old were surveyed in two primary habitat types (reef and rubble) in each of two replicate reserve and non-reserve sites. Recruitment...
Article
The bipartite life history of most marine organisms leads to complex patterns of replenishment in benthic populations. High variation in adult spawning, dynamic oceanographic currents, and often unknown larval behaviors create challenges in accurately predicting spatial and temporal patterns in the supply and settlement of pelagic larvae to nearsho...
Article
Full-text available
The great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) is a widespread, ecologically and socioeconomically important coastal fish, yet very little is known about its larvae. We examined spawning and larval ecology of Western Atlantic sphyraenids using monthly ichthyoplankton samples collected over 2years along a transect spanning the east–west axis of the Strai...
Article
Full-text available
Larvae of most aquatic species experience high mortality in the plankton and where traits are naturally variable, mortality can be selective. We tested the hypothesis that reef fish larvae with faster growth rates and larger size-at-age will be more likely to survive the pelagic larval period. We examined the otolith microstructure of larval bluehe...
Presentation
What does a coral reef sound like? Recent studies have shown that reef soundscapes are comprised of abiotic sounds (such as the breaking of waves), biological sounds (such as animals moving, mating, or foraging) and anthropogenic sounds (such as boat noise). Each reef has a unique “sound signature” which may be an indicator of habitat quality. Seve...
Article
The goals of this study were to measure vertical distributions of pelagic coral reef fish larvae, identify significant vertical migrations, and estimate the effects of vertical migrations between depths with different ambient currents on larval transport in the Straits of Florida. Spring, summer, and fall time-series of plankton net tows were condu...
Article
Full-text available
For organisms with complex life cycles, processes occurring at the interface between life stages can disproportionately impact survival and population dynamics. Temperature is an important factor influencing growth in poikilotherms, and growth-related processes are frequently correlated with survival. We examined the influence of water temperature...
Article
Full-text available
As animals with complex life cycles metamorphose from one stage to the next, carry-over effects from earlier stages can affect future mortality. To examine the relationship between early life history traits and survival, seven monthly cohorts of newly-settled bluehead wrasse Thalassoma bifasciatum were collected immediately after settlement and ove...
Article
Full-text available
Information obtained from fish otoliths has been a critical component of fisheries management for decades. The nature of this information has changed over time as management goals and approaches have shifted. The earliest and still most pervasively used data are those of annual age and growth used to calculate the demographic rates of populations i...
Article
Full-text available
Three seasons of vertically stratified ichthyoplankton sampling at the edge of the Florida Current revealed consistent accumulations of some coral reef fish larvae under taxon-specific environmental conditions. Environmental variability ranging from predictable (seasonal differences in temperature, diel changes in light, and vertical gradients in m...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the ecological and economic importance of western Atlantic Ocean lutjanid species, little is known about their larval stage. Pelagic larval distribution, abundance, growth, mortality, and spawning patterns of 6 western Atlantic snapper species were examined from ichthyoplankton samples collected monthly over 2 yr along a transect spanning t...
Article
Full-text available
Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) larvae were collected from 10monthly cruises (June–October 2003 and 2004) across the Straits of Florida to test (1) whether growth differed between the more productive western region near the Florida shelf, and the less productive eastern region toward the Bahamas, and...