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CRISTOBO, J., B. ALMÓN, J. PÉREZ, and P. RÍOS. 2024. A new species of the genus Biemna Gray, 1867 (Porifera: Biemnidae) from shallow waters of the Northwestern Iberian coasts. Zootaxa 5446: 121–132. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5446.1.7

The genus Biemna currently includes fifty-eight valid species distributed worldwide with a wide depth range. In this paper, we describe a new species of this genus, Biemna begonae sp. nov., collected by scuba diving in two different locations on the Galician coast (NW Spain). The typical skeleton of this group is composed by megascleres arranged in a plumose or plumoreticulate fashion, with ectosomal skeleton constituted by brushes of choanosomal tracts and microscleres, including sigmata, commata and raphides. The habitus of the new species is a hemispherical cushion-shaped with numerous tubular projections emerging from the base, ending in oscules, and a general burgundy-red or whitish cream colour in live specimens. Spicules are styles, rare rhabdostyles, four size classes of sigmata, and raphides. The new species is compared morphologically with the other European representatives of the genus.

Ramiro-Sánchez, B., A. Martin, and B. Leroy. 2023. The epitome of data paucity: Deep-sea habitats of the Southern Indian Ocean. Biological Conservation 283: 110096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110096

Vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) are protected from bottom-fishing impacts in international waters by UN resolutions through Regional Fishery Management Organizations. VMEs include deep-sea benthic taxa whose life-history traits make them vulnerable to disturbance. Conservation measures for VMEs require regulatory frameworks informed by biodiversity maps. Here we evaluate biogeographic patterns of VME biodiversity of the Southern Indian Ocean to understand conservation avenues for the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) management organization. We synthesised knowledge on the distribution of deep-sea benthic taxa and explored the quality and quantity of available data. Next, we explored how taxa are structured into bioregions using biogeographical networks. We found astounding Wallacean and Linnaean shortfalls within SIOFA's area, which is virtually devoid of distributional data. Across the entire area, results suggest that only 48 % of the expected deep-sea taxa has been sampled at most, and most sampled cells are inadequately sampled. Yet, our bioregionalization analysis identified multiple bioregions, some only observed within SIOFA's area. Whilst the Wallacean and Linnean shortfalls are so important for VMEs that they severely impede to make adequate maps for conservation planning, results suggest that SIOFA hosts a unique faunal composition that must be safeguarded. Predictive approaches to compensate for these shortfalls exist but will likely be insufficient and uncertain. Within SIOFA's area, there is no satisfying solution to cope with the data shortfalls. Yet, biodiversity maps are a global responsibility. This study makes a call to invest in biodiversity inventories in this region to promote informed conservation decisions.

Descôteaux, R., M. Huserbråten, L. Jørgensen, P. Renaud, R. Ingvaldsen, E. Ershova, and B. Bluhm. 2022. Origin of marine invertebrate larvae on an Arctic inflow shelf. Marine Ecology Progress Series. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14170

Many benthic invertebrate taxa possess planktonic early life stages which drift with water currents and contribute to dispersal of the species, sometimes reaching areas beyond the current ranges of the adults. Until recently, it had been difficult to identify planktonic larvae to species level due to lack of distinguishing features, preventing detection of expatriate species. Here we used DNA metabarcoding of the COI gene to obtain species-level identification of early life stages of benthic invertebrates in zooplankton samples from the Barents Sea and around Svalbard, where, regionally, large volumes of warm Atlantic Water enter the Arctic from the south. We compared the larval community in the water column to the adult community on the seafloor to identify mismatches. In addition, we implemented particle tracking analysis to identify the possible areas of origin of larvae. Our results show that 30–45% of larval taxa—largely polychaetes and nudibranchs—were not local to the sampling area, though most were found nearby in the Barents Sea. In the particle tracking analysis, some larvae originating along the Norwegian coast were capable of reaching the northwest coast of Svalbard within 3 mo, but larvae found east of Svalbard had a more constrained possible area of origin which did not extend to the Norwegian coast. This study highlights largely regional-scale larval connectivity in the Barents Sea but demonstrates the potential for some long-lived larval taxa to travel to Svalbard and the Barents Sea from further south.

Kopperud, B. T., S. Lidgard, and L. H. Liow. 2022. Enhancing georeferenced biodiversity inventories: automated information extraction from literature records reveal the gaps. PeerJ 10: e13921. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.13921

We use natural language processing (NLP) to retrieve location data for cheilostome bryozoan species (text-mined occurrences (TMO)) in an automated procedure. We compare these results with data combined from two major public databases (DB): the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Using DB and TMO data separately and in combination, we present latitudinal species richness curves using standard estimators (Chao2 and the Jackknife) and range-through approaches. Our combined DB and TMO species richness curves quantitatively document a bimodal global latitudinal diversity gradient for extant cheilostomes for the first time, with peaks in the temperate zones. A total of 79% of the georeferenced species we retrieved from TMO (N = 1,408) and DB (N = 4,549) are non-overlapping. Despite clear indications that global location data compiled for cheilostomes should be improved with concerted effort, our study supports the view that many marine latitudinal species richness patterns deviate from the canonical latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG). Moreover, combining online biodiversity databases with automated information retrieval from the published literature is a promising avenue for expanding taxon-location datasets.

Ramírez, F., V. Sbragaglia, K. Soacha, M. Coll, and J. Piera. 2022. Challenges for Marine Ecological Assessments: Completeness of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable Biodiversity Data in European Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.802235

The ongoing contemporary biodiversity crisis may result in much of ocean’s biodiversity to be lost or deeply modified without even being known. As the climate and anthropogenic-related impacts on marine systems accelerate, biodiversity knowledge integration is urgently required to evaluate and monit…

Ortiz, A. M. D., and J. N. V. Torres. 2020. Assessing the Impacts of Agriculture and Its Trade on Philippine Biodiversity. Land 9: 403. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110403

Many Philippine species are at risk of extinction because of habitat loss and degradation driven by agricultural land use and land-use change. The Philippines is one of the world’s primary banana and pineapple producers. The input-intensive style of plantation agriculture for these typically exporte…

Undap, N., A. Papu, D. Schillo, F. G. Ijong, F. Kaligis, M. Lepar, C. Hertzer, et al. 2019. First Survey of Heterobranch Sea Slugs (Mollusca, Gastropoda) from the Island Sangihe, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Diversity 11: 170. https://doi.org/10.3390/d11090170

Indonesia is famous for its underwater biodiversity, which attracts many tourists, especially divers. This is also true for Sangihe Islands Regency, an area composed of several islands in the northern part of North Sulawesi. However, Sangihe Islands Regency is much less known than, e.g., Bunaken Nat…