Although it is clear that both
human and climate variation have the capability of affecting natural systems,
we are currently facing the pressing uncertainty on what the responses of
specific ecosystems will be, given the imminent increase in pressure by humans
and climate variations and how we can timely identify and assess them. To
deal with this difficult task, modern ecology, approaches, tools, and more
diverse disciplines have been incorporated in the last decades. From the
retrospective analysis of the research schedule of the last three years as a work
group, two important questions arose:
Up to what extent are we
capable of measuring biodiversity in marine ecosystems?
To what extent can we
predict the role biodiversity plays in the good working order and vulnerability
of the coastal ecosystems in Northwest Mexico?
From these questions, the proposal for a project
integrating biodiversity and vulnerability in coastal marine ecosystems emerged
to allow integrating efforts and optimizing resources and academic accomplishments
of a multidisciplinary group (seven researchers, two young researchers, seven
technicians, ten graduate students, and four bachelor students) dealing with an
innovative topic at international level, particularly for marine ecosystems.
We consider that having
five ecosystems (mangrove, submarine mountain, coral reef, exposed rocky
system, and coastal lagoon) generally subjected to low exploitation by humans
(compared to totally modified regions), under similar environmental variability
levels (due to their proximity), and for which there is a good number of
previous ecological records, grant us a privileged experimental opportunity. We
are convinced that we can provide important elements for such a difficult topic.
Project: Population dynamics of the elasmobranchians with economic potential Rhizoprionodon longurio, Pacific sharpnose shark and Rhinoptera steindachneri, Pacific cownose ray in the Gulf of California
The justification of this project is the species of
interest, the Pacific sharpnose shark and the Pacific cownose ray, which are relatively
abundant coastal species in traditional fisheries of the Gulf
of California. The statistical record corresponding to the state
of Sinaloa points out an average of 1,800 tons of shark a year in the last five
years. During this same period, Sonora and Sinaloa have been recorded in the first six places in national production according to the SAGARPA 2003 fishing
yearbook; however, these yearbooks do not publish information to distinguish it
by species, which is why we cannot measure the precise impact this fishery
activity has on them. Based on the previous information, in this project we will obtain
relevant basic biological information of the two common
elasmobranchians in traditional fisheries of the Gulf of California,
sharpnose shark and cownose ray and provide the necessary elements to
implement management and conservation plans for these species. With this
information we intend to ensure that with the extractive activity, these
species remain in time and in conditions to be exploited. Due to the lack of
adequate regulations for their exploitation in the state of Sinaloa, signs of
excessive exploitation are starting to show.
Up to now, the main
result is the sampling database of the cownose or Cuban ray (Rhinoptera steindachneri), according to
the region in the states of Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora. Additionally, biological sampling and
histological samples are in analysis process for reproductive studies. It is
worth mentioning that this project contributes to the strategic objective that
refers to anthropogenic impact in coastal ecosystems...
The problem in identifying marine food
species concerns not only direct product sale to consumers, but also that which is
performed between companies that provide raw materials and processed
products. In fishing products that are sold refrigerated or frozen, it is
relatively easy to identify the species origin by using morphological
characteristics. An alternative, in case of transformed products, is to employ
characteristics that remain unaltered during different production or
transformation processes (canning, smoking, salting). To comply with the objective
mentioned, we developed methodology and validation of an analytical test to
identify species of canned tuna, and an experimental laboratory for certification. The project was concluded this semester (2009 I) and generated
important results which include:
Analytical-molecular method (based on DNA) to differentiate the product
at species level in the different ways it is commercially presented;
Economic and feasibility study;
Comparison between selected analytic techniques to determine the best
time-cost-benefit-technical demand option and infrastructure;
standardization studies of the selected intra- and interinstitutional method at
A prototype kit to identify tuna species based on the PCR technique
In the Pacific coasts of Baja California there are large submarine
prairies formed by brown seaweed that emerge from the sea covering extensions
of several hectares or square kilometers.
These submarine prairies represent highly productive ecosystems where a large variety of fishery resources inhabit, such as turban snail and lobster.
This project has the rocky reef ecosystem of Bahía Tortugas B.C.S. as its area of study, which is associated to the production of abalone, the basis of the economic development of the locality. The study of macroalga and seagrass exploitation is completed as to field, laboratory, and office work. With this work we confirmed the diet of selected marine herbivores, such as Megastraea undosa, Megathura crenulata, Fisurella volcano, and Tegula eiseni; information that has been recorded in two thesis documents
During 2009 we characterized macroalgal population stocks and their potential along the coasts of the state, which at present constitute a potential resource that has received little attention except for the giant kelp...
Project: Relationship between socioeconomic and biophysical processes in coastal marine ecosystems of Baja California-NSF-Linking Human and biophysical processes in marine coastal ecosystems of Baja California
This project was developed jointly with Mexican and American institutions. It covers two main lines of research: socioeconomic and ecological aspects. The general objective is to obtain a better understanding of the factors and processes that affect the performance of coastal fisheries located along the Pacific coast in Baja California Sur in terms of sustainable exploitation, which has gained international recognition via environmental certification. Fisheries performance will be assessed in terms of fisheries productivity, economic yield, sustainability of communities and human activities, and the persistence of marine populations and ecosystems. The project will analyze the physical environment and the ecological characteristics of the exploited ecosystems, institutional arrangements, and social and economic conditions of the region...
Marine toxin effect in the metabolism of marine mollusks has been poorly
documented; however, to understand its impact in ecosystems and fisheries, it
is necessary to know the metabolic details subsequent to acute and sub-chronic
exposure to organisms that produce marine toxins DSP (Diarrhetic Shellfish
Poisoning) and PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning) type, which are the ones that
most frequently affect the coasts of BCS. This project is based on economic and physiological impacts of HABs (Harmful Algal Bloomings) in fishery resources or in mollusk or fish cultures, where one of the most drastic impact is the loss of marine organisms such as that of sea lions, pelicans, mollusks, lobsters, and fish, etc. The general objective of this project is to determine the gene expression effect in Crassostrea gigas larvae and juveniles exposed to PSP and DSP marine toxins...
This project started after the stranding of PEMEX tanker Lázaro
Cárdenas II on a reef area near Isla
Espíritu Santo, B.C.S., destroying close to one hectare of coral. After an initial stage to diagnose damage, determine urgent cleaning measures, and support PROFEPA in restoring the reef area, we have finally reached the objective of this project, which is the monitoring stage of the restored coral reef system. The project pursues to determine the recovery trend of the impacted area after its restoration in a temporal horizon of 5 years. For this purpose we will use two approaches: structural and functional...
Our proposal is to deal with the study of possible climate change effects on marine populations in the temperate-tropical transition area of the Mexican Pacific starting with the comparative population analysis of a species of sedentary mollusks, Panopea abrupta, which is considered particularly useful as a study model (1) because of its extraordinary longevity, and (2) because it is not subject to mortality by predators in its adult stage. The slowness at which any selective process at population level can be fixed and because its mortality could be assumed to be essentially a result of physiological processes explain why the species is considered a good predictor of the influence of environmental factors; it also justifies the proposal that the species is an excellent model to analyze the direct effects of climate change in marine mollusk populations. For this purpose, we propose to characterize different populations of the species along the hot limit of their distribution. The results could show new evidence that could be interpreted in relation to the possible effects of climate change on these populations and environments.
The hypothesis that emerges from the previous information is that P. abrupta populations show macroecological patterns in their population dynamics and their physiological characteristic allow us to infer that the most tropical populations are more vulnerable to local extinction in relation to the most northern populations in view of possible effects of global climate change...
Institutional Collaboration Project: Trophic relationships of the ecosystem in tropical and temperate transition area: calibration between stomack content, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, and fatty acid profiles
Associated Institution:CICIMAR Principal Investigator: Dr. David Aurioles Gamboa