2023 Publications (links to each paper available at read more)
Consequences of “natural” disasters on aquatic life and habitats
Cooke, S, DMP Galassi, BM Gillanders, SJ Landsman, N Hammerschlag, AJ Gallagher, EJ Eliason, CE Kraft, MK Taylor, CM Crisafulli, DH Shugar, R Lennox. 2023. Environmental Reviews
“Natural” disasters (also known as geophysical disasters) involve physical processes that have a direct or indirect impact on humans. These events occur rapidly and may have severe consequences for resident flora and fauna as their habitat undergoes dramatic and sudden change. Although most studies have focused on the impact of natural disasters on humans and terrestrial systems, geophysical disasters can also impact aquatic ecosystems. Here we provide a synthesis on the effects of the most common and destructive geophysical disasters on aquatic systems (life and habitat). Our approach spanned realms (i.e., freshwater, estuarine, marine) and taxa (i.e., plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, microbes) and included floods, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons, tornadoes, dust storms, ice storms, avalanches (snow), landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes (including limnic eruptions), tsunamis, and cosmic events. Many geophysical disasters have dramatic effects on aquatic systems. The evidence base is somewhat limited for some natural disasters because transient events (e.g., tornadoes, floods) are difficult to study. Most natural disaster studies focus on geology/geomorphology and hazard assessment for humans and infrastructure. However, the destruction of aquatic systems can impact humans indirectly through loss of food security, cultural services or livelihoods. Many geophysical disasters interact in complex ways (e.g., wildfires often lead to landslides and flooding) and can be magnified or otherwise mediated by human activities. Our synthesis reveals that geophysical events influence aquatic ecosystems, often in negative ways, yet systems can be resilient provided that effects are not compounded by anthropogenic stressors. It is difficult to predict or prevent geophysical disasters but understanding how aquatic ecosystems are influenced by geophysical events is important given the inherent connection between peoples and aquatic ecosystems.
Image: Typhoon tip at peak intensity, NOAA, public domain
Umbrella terms conceal the sale of threatened shark species: A DNA barcoding approach
AE Sharrad, P Reis-Santos, J Austin, BM Gillanders. 2023. Food Control 148: 109606
Food fraud in the seafood industry is a growing concern, including the authenticity and provenance of seafood products that are often unable to be confidently verified along complex, and at times obscure, supply chains. Among the diverse types of seafood fraud, mislabelling and species substitution are common, and have potential implications on human health, the economy, and species conservation. In particular, shark meat can be difficult to monitor, associated with the use of an array of convoluted nomenclature or ambiguous umbrella terms. In Australia, shark meat fillets are a popular seafood item sold under the umbrella term flake in takeaways, and fish and chip shops. We collected samples of flake as sold to consumers at 104 retailers in South Australia and used DNA barcoding to determine the shark species being traded. At least nine distinct species were identified, with only 27% of all samples identified as gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus), a species that has sustainable fisheries, is locally caught, and is one of two species that is recommended to be labelled as flake in Australia. Four species were threatened taxa, including the CITES Appendix II listed short-fin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena). Of all the samples and shops analysed, only 11% of retailers correctly identified the species they sold, another 20% were mislabelled and the remaining only had ambiguous labelling. Ultimately, the umbrella term flake allowed for species misrepresentation but DNA barcoding was an effective tool to test ambiguous labelling in processed and cooked shark meat products, and can guide policy, management, and compliance efforts to mitigate mislabelling, empowering consumers to make informed decisions and champion sustainable seafood.
Near Calperun Station, SA
Giant Australian cuttlefish